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Permitting Renewable Energy Projects during the Pandemic

David Loomis's picture
Professor of Economics Illinois State University
  • Member since 2003
  • 2 items added with 783 views
  • May 27, 2020
  • 783 views

While funding renewable energy projects is sure to be more challenging in the coming months, it isn’t all downside for renewable energy developers. That’s because local and state governments will be more eager than ever to approve projects that create jobs.

As national unemployment surpasses 20%, developers should highlight the job creation that wind and solar projects can provide to local communities. In general, a wind project will produce 200-600 construction jobs for a 200MW project, while a solar project will produce 300-1,000 construction jobs (also for 200MW).

Another perk for permitters? The tax revenues a renewable energy project will provide. With a tanking economy, tax revenues are drying up, which has left local governments scrambling for new opportunities to balance the budget.

Lastly, for solar projects, signing landowners may rescue them from losses from plummeting corn and soybean prices, not to mention severely reduced demand for ethanol. Using a portion of their land for solar can help them continue the work they love while staying in the green.

Want to see more about the economic impacts of renewable energy? Click the link to see a sample study I produced for Badger Hollow Solar Project, which includes Land Use, Tax Revenue, and Economic Impact Analyses.

PSC - View Document

apps.psc.wi.gov

David Loomis's picture
Thank David for the Post!
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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on May 27, 2020

I've heard a lot of beating of this drum, and that's exciting-- but I haven't seen much in terms of political mobilization behind it. Do you expect to see that ramp up as we (hopefully) push through to the other side of the crisis and/or as November elections (federal, state, and local) heat up?

David Loomis's picture
David Loomis on May 28, 2020

I am hoping that the economic impacts stand outside of the political polarization.  I know that the tax revenue and landowner payments are tangible and quantifable.  I'm hoping that jobs and earnings can also be viewed objectively.  Then a permitting board can decide if they want the economic imapacts that will come with the renewable energy project.

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on May 28, 2020

I hope you're right-- and keep sharing developments as this (hopefully) moves forward!

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