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The Science of Siting Clean Energy

January 17, 2024 Category: Infrastructure

Building clean energy infrastructure at the pace and scale needed to meet state and federal climate targets faces many challenges, but in recent years, these challenges have shifted from technical and economic in nature toward a complex mix of social and institutional barriers. It is increasingly clear that finding communities that are willing and able to host large renewable energy projects, particularly wind and solar projects, will be essential for meeting climate goals.  

In the Fall of 2023, Clean Air Task Force, in partnership with the University of Michigan’s Graham Sustainability Institute, hosted a two-part workshop series to bring together perspectives, knowledge, and insights among practitioners and researchers who have firsthand experience working on getting contentious things built. The goal of the workshops was to identify paradigm-shifting opportunities and solutions for building community acceptance of wind and solar infrastructure. This report summarizes key takeaways from the workshops and presents four ideas that could offer a productive path forward that would both support procedurally just decision-making and accelerate the deployment of renewable energy infrastructure.