‘Conflicts of Greens’ in renewable energy landscapes: Case studies and a planning framework

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Contribution to a Book

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The Routledge Handbook of Sustainable Cities and Landscapes in the Pacific Rim



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The magnitude of renewable energy deployment needed to meet the challenges of climate change means localities are pursuing large-scale projects – often in more remote and rural areas, and in oceans and waterways. Although these facilities produce much ‘greener’ energy sources than fossil fuel power plants, their siting often poses conflicts with wildlife habitat, other local environmental impacts, as well as social and cultural resources in communities. Poorly sited projects can lead to concerns for ‘energy justice’, where negative impacts fall more heavily upon marginalized communities. Given this challenge, this chapter presents a comprehensive framework to address and mitigate this emerging ‘conflicts of greens’. It drew upon lessons from large-scale renewable energy projects across the Pacific Rim, including California, Hawaiʻi, Japan, Taiwan, and Korea. Case studies illustrate a range of renewable energy types as well as highlight considerations for impacts to vulnerable communities. We examine the cases successes and failures related to spatial and community planning, to identify criteria for a generalizable renewable energy planning framework. It encompasses having a robust public process to shape renewable energy siting, including ample pre-construction data collection and analysis of impacted species and communities, as well as measures for adaptive management.


Environmental Studies