Volume 74, Issue 5, 1483-1512
Climate change has arrived. The next decade will provide critical opportunities to avoid the most devastating impacts of climate change. The decisions we take over the next ten years will be the difference between moderate levels of warming and warming that will cause catastrophic changes to the planet. To avoid the most devastating impacts of climate change, the United States must rapidly transition the energy sector to almost entirely renewable energy. Notwithstanding the rapid growth of renewable energy over the past decade, the United States must add renewable capacity at an unprecedented rate. To meet this challenge, many states have set aggressive renewable energy targets for their electricity sectors. In the push for a transition to renewable energy, the question remains: where will it all go? Many people like the idea of clean energy in their state but would prefer that the facilities not be located near them. Thus, in response to the push for clean energy, many local governments and municipalities have enacted laws restricting the siting of renewable energy projects. Left unchecked, these local restrictions may prevent states from reaching their renewable energy targets. State-level renewable energy siting programs offer centralized decisionmaking for renewable energy projects and can preempt local laws that are overly restrictive. This Note focuses on using state preemption of local laws to promote the development of new renewable energy projects and identifying legal features that make these programs successful, looking to New York as a case study.