Siting Renewable Energy: Land Use and Regulatory Context
66 Pages Posted: 11 Mar 2010 Last revised: 9 Jan 2012
Date Written: March 8, 2010
This article takes up the increasingly important land use question of siting for renewable energy. As concern over climate change grows, new policies are being crafted at all levels of government to support renewable energy as a way of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. These policies are driving the need to site and construct new power plants that will utilize renewable resources. Historically, power plant siting has been the province of state and local governments, so the regulatory context into which renewables are being integrated varies, sometimes significantly, jurisdiction by jurisdiction.
To examine this regulatory context, this article focuses on Florida – the third largest consumer of electricity in the U.S. with less than two percent generated from renewable resources. The article first provides an overview of Florida’s power supply sector and sets out the existing regulatory context for terrestrial siting of energy facilities. It then situates Florida’s most promising renewable resources within that context, identifies regulatory barriers that implicate siting, and considers the siting issues unique to each resource. As the article explains, we now have a window of opportunity in which state and local governments can plan for and guide renewable energy siting – an approach that contrasts with utility-driven planning and siting that has long been standard practice.
Keywords: renewable energy, solar, biomass, land use, siting, facilities, environmental justice, comprehensive plan, growth management, power plant, distributed generation
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