May 29, 2020

Grassroots Opposition To Big Energy – Clean or Dirty

The New York Times is catching up to the grassroots opposition to big energy projects, clean energy or dirty. Today the paper reported on the developing push back to big oil pipelines, big electrical transmission lines, and other energy transport projects of scale. The dimensions of what needs to be done to push the country from high-carbon energy production to lower carbon production is as vast as anything the nation has attempted. That’s why it’s …

Read More

Obama Worries About Big Turbulence in America’s Clean Energy Sector

Converging trends  are roiling the clean energy manufacturing and production sectors here in Michigan and  nationally. President Obama knows it and is worried. The collapse of the Solyndra solar plant in California is  a prickly presidential campaign issue. Jobs and the country’s capacity to reduce its climate changing emissions, (as shown in the emissions counter above in NYC), also are big outcomes. On Tuesday evening, the president told the story of an unemployed west Michigan …

Read More

Historic Preservationists Rally To Kill Clean Energy Projects

Add preservationists to the list of American interest groups determined to kill clean energy projects. Preservation Magazine published a good piece on the troubling trend in its summer 2011 issue. Along with all of the other concerns I’ve raised about the myriad and all-too-effective campaigns at the grassroots to curtail clean energy development, add this thought. At least in clean energy development the United States has the opportunity to replace scenic vistas with energy sources …

Read More

A Hydrocarbon Boom Unfolds While Northern Michigan Fears The Wind

The history of renewable energy, at least the way many in the environmental community imagined it with the election of President Obama, is a straight story line. A courageous young leader, worried about economic and national security, takes on the big energy dogs and begins to shift the United States away from dirty, dangerous, and expensive fossil fuels. Then there is history the way it actually unfolds. Markets and personal values and incomes and public …

Read More

Grassroots Opposition To Wind Energy Receives Scholarly Assessment

Roopali Phadke was a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government from 2003 to 2005 when an intensifying civic struggle over a developer’s proposal to build the nation’s first offshore wind farm in Cape Cod caught her attention. The battle line between supporters and opponents was readily apparent. But the soldiers filling out the ranks of the opposition leadership were especially confounding. They included Senator Ted Kennedy, one of the nation’s most influential liberal …

Read More

More Fear Sown By Opponents to Clean Energy

About a year ago, while consulting with Traverse City Light and Power on the utility’s plan to generate 30 percent of its energy from renewable resources, I recognized the surprising and damaging trend developing within grassroots environmental groups to sow fear and block clean and renewable energy projects. That trend is growing bigger. Opponents to a big Duke Energy proposal to build the 112-turbine Gail Windpower installation in Benzie and Manistee counties here, many of …

Read More

About The Gail Wind Farm: Two Perspectives

Duke Energy, which last month merged with Progress Energy to become the nation’s largest electric utility, proposes to build a 112-turbine, $360 million wind farm in four rural townships in Benzie and Manistee counties. The company, in its public statements, says it hopes to begin construction in the spring of 2012. Duke also says it has reached binding leasing agreements with landowners who own 10,000 to 11,000 acres of the 16,000 acres in Duke’s wind …

Read More

The Unsound Science of Infrasound “Threat”

The Michigan Land Use Institute this week posted a strong report, and a rich archive of supporting material, that raises important questions about the credibility of assertions that “infrasound” generated by utility-scale wind turbines produces dangerous health consequences. The article, by MLUI managing editor Jim Dulzo, a former colleague and a journalist who knows his way around complex issues, notes that opponents of big wind farms, including the 112-turbine, $360 million project proposed for Benzie …

Read More

Afraid of the Wind

Earlier this month, on a snowy afternoon, the newly renovated Garden Theater held the largest crowd I’ve ever seen indoors in the small Lake Michigan coastal town of Frankfort, with the exception of girls and boys basketball games. On tap that day was a polemical documentary film, “Windfall.” Two groups of citizen activists held the screening to build civic momentum in opposition to a good-sized utility-scale windfarm proposed for Benzie and Manistee counties. Afterwards the …

Read More

Greens Fight Sun Power in the West

At the national level America’s environmental movement is in a period of befuddlement. Not exactly a giant mope. But with the big issue of the day — how to gain ground on reducing carbon emissions linked to global warming — the policy and campaign staffs of the big national groups are tagging along as political momentum to deal with climate emmissions is stalled at best, or shifting to reverse. In Tianjin this month progress was …

Read More