Why do people take a NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) attitude toward hosting energy transition solutions like wind, solar farms, and transmission lines in their communities? And what can be done about it? What do project developers and community planners need to understand about why a community accepts or rejects energy transition proposals? Are there specific methods that have proven effective in earning a community’s support, and are there common missteps that are guaranteed to derail a project? And what is the role of building and planning agencies in guiding the development of community projects?
In this episode, Dr. Sarah Mills of the University of Michigan offers some answers to these questions. Not only has she researched these questions by talking to people in energy transition infrastructure host communities across the American Midwest and the Great Lakes regions, with a particular focus on rural communities, Dr. Mills also acts as the chair of her local planning commission, and tries to help local governments set policies around the development of clean energy by integrating it into their land-use planning, zoning, and other policymaking. Sarah Mills is a true expert in the field, and she offers important insights in this conversation that every renewable energy project advocate needs to hear.
Dr. Sarah Mills is the Senior Project Manager for the climate and energy activities at the Graham Sustainability Institute at the University of Michigan (UM). She also manages UM’s partnership with the Michigan Office of Climate and Energy, helping communities across the state consider energy in their land use planning, zoning, and other policymaking. She helps local governments across the state set policies related to clean energy, and conducts research at the intersection of energy policy and land use planning–especially in rural communities. Her current work focuses on how renewable energy development impacts rural communities (positively and negatively), the disparate reactions of rural landowners to wind and solar projects, and how state and local policies facilitate or hinder renewable energy deployment.
On Twitter: @Sarahbanasmills
On the Web: Sarah’s page at the Center for Sustainable Systems at the University of Michigan
Recording date: May 6, 2022
Air date: June 22, 2022
Geek rating: 3