By Jay Vincent
Senior Vice President – Business Development, The Saint Consulting Group
Sarah Green with the Harvard Business Review wrote in April that she was, “surprised that in Massachusetts, the local populace has opposed the Cape Wind project for so long. In a state known for its high-tech sector, I would expect a massive technical undertaking such as building 130 wind turbines to garner more local support, especially since the only other major job creating proposal to come out in recent years is building casinos.”
Perhaps the more appropriate word should have been disappointed instead of surprise. Any casual observer of land use permitting is not surprised that almost every use receives opposition in today’s permitting environment. Yet, we are all disappointed.
While I agree with the theme of her article, the real lesson in my view as it relates to Cape Wind is the vulnerability that any major development experiences in today’s permitting environment. Cape Wind is a shining example.
The list of threats is long but these few are worthy of just a brief review:
- Opposition studies funded by competitive interests
- “Spiritual Opposition” from Native Americans
- Lawsuits from residents and competitors
- A trip to the Supreme Court of MA
- Countless regulatory interventions and reviews
- Creation of several well funded alliances and community groups
- The Ultimate NIMBY – Bill Koch and other wealthy interests
- Attempts to list the Nantucket Sound as a historic place
While hindsight is 20/20, do you really think the developer of this project thought about many of these potential challenges as it contemplated this project? Doubtful to say the least!
Well at Saint Consulting, WE DO. Over 25 years of experience dealing with community opposition has taught us how to focus like a laser beam on potential threats to your project. In fact, we have a product you might find interesting – The Scope Report. Reach out to one of our practice leaders or call 781-749-7290 to speak with someone in the development department. We would be happy to walk you through how a Political Due Diligence Analysis can help you ensure you are not the next Cape Wind.
Jay Vincent is senior vice president for business development | Energy Sector Practice Leader, The Saint Consulting Group, email firstname.lastname@example.org, phone 312 970 5770