74 Pages Posted: 11 Mar 2010 Last revised: 17 Nov 2011
At a point in the future that is no longer remote, renewable energy will be a necessity. The construction of large renewable farms will be central to a transition away from fossil fuels, but distributed renewable energy technologies - wind turbines in backyards and solar panels on roofs - are immediately essential as well. Widespread deployment of distributed renewable technologies requires rapid domestic innovation led by renewables pioneers - individuals who act as market leaders and prove to their neighbors that these new energy devices are safe and worthy of use. Existing law and the very structure of governmental authority over energy is insufficient for this energy transition and stifles the efforts of these pioneers. Public bodies must therefore embark upon a substantial overhaul of land-energy rules: regulations that place requirements on renewable technology construction and govern its physical location. This Article asks, from a comparative institutional perspective, what level of government will best ensure that land-energy rules enable a drive toward distributed renewable energy and concludes that the powers of municipal governments in this field must be unleashed. Innovation will occur from the ground up, and municipalities must actively work to enable the next great energy transition in this country: a move toward energy produced from the sun, the wind, the earth’s internal heat, and other renewable sources.
Keywords: Constitutional Law, Federalism, Energy Law, Utilities Law, Wind, Solar, Geothermal, Environmental Law, Land Use, Law and Technology, Property, Science and Technology, State and Local Government Law,
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