As Solar Scales Up, Development Controversies Follow

Utility-scale solar is increasingly looking east to develop new facilities and encountering a common form of resistance from local communities.

1 minute read

November 3, 2021, 8:00 AM PDT

By Planetizen

Solar and Wind Energy

Soonthorn Wongsaita / Shutterstock

Ellen Rosen reports for The New York Times on the increasingly common resistance by local stakeholders to the siting and development of solar power facilities, citing the example of Hecate Energy, which cut back plans to build a 500-acre solar energy facility in Copake, New York after outcry front he community.

Here's how Rosen summarizes the local example and its relevance to national trends:

The Copake fight mirrors similar battles raging across the country in rural areas like Lake County, Ore.; Clinton County, Ohio; and Troy, Texas. Developers say industrial-scale solar farms are needed to meet the nation’s goals to mitigate the rise of climate change, but locals are fighting back against what they see as an encroachment on their pastoral settings, the loss of agricultural land and a decline in property values.

According to Rosen, solar facilities were formerly more common in the U.S. West, but that is changing as governments at various levels push for more renewable energy and large corporations, like Amazon and Microsoft, move toward renewable energy to reduce their corporate carbon footprints. The source article includes more of the regulatory context, as well as the political considerations of renewable energy development.

Tuesday, November 2, 2021 in The New York Times

View of Mount Hood at golden hour with Happy Valley, Oregon homes in foreground.

Clackamas County Votes to Allow ADUs, Residential RVs

County officials hope the zoning changes will help boost the housing supply in the region.

June 18, 2024 - Mountain Times

Single-family homes in a suburban neighborhood in Florida.

New Florida Law Curbs HOA Power

The legislation seeks to cut down on ‘absurd’ citations for low-level violations.

June 16, 2024 - The Guardian

Aerial view of intersection in New York City with yellow cabs and zebra crosswalks.

Planners’ Complicity in Excessive Traffic Deaths

Professor Wes Marshall’s provocatively-titled new book, "Killed by a Traffic Engineer," has stimulated fierce debates. Are his criticisms justified? Let’s examine the degree that traffic engineers contribute to avoidable traffic deaths.

June 13, 2024 - Todd Litman

View of Palos Verdes Drive along Pacific Ocean in Palos Verdes, California at sunset.

Erosion Threatens SoCal Road, Lloyd Wright Icon

The city of Palos Verdes is closing parts of a roadway to cyclists, citing safety concerns as the land underneath moves between 7 and 12 inches per week.

June 23 - Daily Breeze

Faded image of vacant storefront in rural area with American flag stars painteind on windows.

COVID Isn’t to Blame for the Retail Vacancy Crisis

A drop in demand for retail space began well before the seismic shifts of the pandemic.

June 23 - Slate

Heavy New York City traffic headed toward Holland Tunnel in Manhattan.

Judge Rules in Favor of MTA in Congestion Pricing Suit

Advocates of the program are calling on Gov. Hochul to reinstate the program in light of the decision.

June 23 - StreetsBlog NYC

City Planner I

Department of Housing and Community Development

City Planner II

Department of Housing and Community Development

City Planner Supervisor

Department of Housing and Community Development

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.