Wednesday, January 13, 2010, 2:10 PM

Clean energy's grassroots challenge

(Image credit: Triple Pundit)
We've blogged before about the grassroots opposition clean energy firms often face when developing new wind projects, solar fields, and biofuels manufacturing plants. Press reports in recent weeks show that problem isn't going away. Take a look:

Massachusetts-based Cape Wind faces yet another challenge to its plan to develop a wind farm off Nantucket Sound.

Minnesota residents are opposing clean energy projects worth hundreds of millions of dollars and tens of thousands of kilowatts of energy.

A California-based solar firm is facing stiff opposition to its proposed solar field in the Panoche Valley, despite its potential to power 300,000 homes.
Even environmentalists are struggling with internal strife over the perceived risks and rewards of clean energy, according to this great New York Times debate.

Having advised wind and biofuels companies in recent years, my experience is residents don't easily see the tangible local value in having a large scale project in their backyard. If the juice generated by your company's solar project goes straight to the power grid, what's in it for the neighbors?

Clean energy companies that have a good answer to that question - and communicate that answer early and often -- put themselves a step ahead in the race for public opinion. Wondering how to translate your project into tangible benefits for skeptical neighbors? Consider philanthropic endeavors, partnerships with local schools, and jobs fairs, to name a few concepts. We've got more ideas. Just drop us a line.

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