Global climate change and its attendant impacts threaten to change life on Earth as we know it. The sea level rise that comes with rising temperatures is an issue of particular importance to coastal states like Maine. Thankfully, continued investment in renewable energy technology is beginning to make certain renewable energy sources competitive with their nonrenewable counterparts. This Comment highlights wind energy as a particularly effective option for meeting Maine’s energy needs while significantly reducing the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. Despite its many benefits, wind energy technology still has its detractors. Wind energy projects (especially the grid-scale projects needed to meet Maine’s energy needs) are sometimes still associated with undesirable impacts. However, improved technology and careful regulation have significantly reduced the likelihood that such impacts are felt by neighboring landowners. Regardless, nuisance claims remain available to those who believe that a wind energy project unreasonably interferes with their use and enjoyment of their property. The availability of these claims hinders further development—as the threat of litigation can scare off investors or make it difficult to predict project costs. This Comment highlights the effectiveness of Maine’s regulatory framework for mitigating the adverse impacts of wind energy projects, as well as the low likelihood that a successful nuisance claim could be brought against a properly permitted wind energy project under Maine law. As a result, this Comment urges the Maine Legislature to pass legislation barring nuisance claims against wind energy projects that comply with applicable regulations. A legislative measure of this kind would improve investor confidence and encourage further wind energy development in the state, helping Maine meet its energy needs while curtailing its contributions to climate change.
Andrew D. Hersom,
Our Biggest Fans: Nuisance Immunity for Grid-Scale Wind Energy Projects in Maine,
Me. L. Rev.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.mainelaw.maine.edu/mlr/vol75/iss1/6