Category: Utility Scale Generation
In early 2018 I successfully permitting a pair of grid scale projects in central Maine, totaling just over 40 megawatts in generating capacity. Being the first projects permitted through Maine's Site Location of Development Act we navigated a number of firsts. As many developers have experience nationally, community outreach and a local connection is of critical importance. The primary reason we succeeded in a timely manner without significant delays was directly related to our project approach and support from local residents. The landowners are farmers who have community roots that go back for generations and the messaging tied to this change in use of the land and its benefit to the local community had to be delivered regularly through multiple avenues. The fatigue of local communities as solar energy proliferates across the region cannot be taken lightly. This is more relevant than ever here in New England as we look to increase our renewable portfolio aggressively in the years to come. This presentation will give the audience an experiential window through which to view our lessons learned, to better position market participants for success. These outreach and project permitting principles could be applied to projects across north america and the project type could also vary. Developers and community members alike would benefit from developing a better understanding of the priorities each party may bring to the table and the methodology I have successfully used to bridge competing interests to find mutual middle ground.
Dale Knapp– Principal, Boyle Associates