Years ago, in response to a cookie-cutter newspaper column arguing that pro–renewable energy government policies fight big, greedy businesses (the “moneyed interests”), I pointed out the obvious: big renewable energy companies are big, greedy businesses. They want big tax incentives, they want purchase mandates, they want big penalties placed on their competitors.
Today in Carolina Journal, Dan Way writes of how these big, greedy businesses wear down the little guy. [You’d think this would be the kind of story all media like to report on, but that’s not the case: “The News & Observer … thunders against government favoritism for big business until the businesses are identified (Amazon! solar! beer! CVX! etc.).”]
Neighbors don’t expect the David versus Goliath victory to end here. Cypress Creek Renewables can appeal the decision to Iredell County Superior Court.
But, as history shows, the solar developers’ position is getting stronger, as they are flush with cash, as well as technical and legal experts who testify on their behalf.
“From a battleground perspective, or a tactical perspective, I think that opponents to these projects [are] always going to be behind the 8-ball when it comes to funding because it takes money to hire an attorney,” said Clark Tew, who represented the Iredell County opponents.
In the Currituck County case, neighbors hired their own attorney. But funding, and their private legal representation, ran out before the case reached the Court of Appeals.
Just finding an attorney with the proper skills to challenge a solar installation is difficult, in large part because land use issues involving solar farms are a relatively new legal field. …
But make no mistake. Turning solar developers into a big, greedy business capable of running roughshod over poor neighbors’ concerns in small towns was an unintended negative consequence of all the cronyism for solar development.
Now it’s an unfortunate object lesson for why the proper role of government is to protect market freedom rather than engage in cronyism.