NIMBY inertia stalls growth and cleaner energy future, says Michael Morris of AEP

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By Jay Vincent,
Senior Vice President, Energy, The Saint Consulting Group

michael-morrisNIMBY’s impact on the world’s economic growth, major policy initiatives and culture continues to grow. When leaders of major power brokers (pardon the pun) in the energy sector name NIMBY as an obstacle to reaching US energy demands (both actual need for power and stipulation that it be clean and green). NIMBY has arrived.

In an interview, Michael Morris, chairman of American Electric Power, says America is gripped by “an inertia of nothing in my backyard” (NIMBY), which along with a lack of proper federal legislative control, are the main challenges to a cleaner energy future. This inertia is at the heart and psychology of NIMBY – while populations clamor for the development of goods and services, they oppose them passionately if they’re going up across the street. I won’t call it hypocrisy, mostly because it assuages my own proclivities to oppose heavy land uses in my neighborhood, that I might well need in my community.

Lack of proper federal control and NIMBY appear to be wrapped up into one. The current energy bill is a good example. Efforts are underway to ensure passage of an energy bill that includes firmer backstop authority for FERC in siting transmission lines that are necessary to deliver the renewable power the Administration, Congress and a good deal of the country is asking for.   Yet, when we flash polled the issue in early May, 60 percent of respondents still wanted decisions on transmission lines decisions to be made locally. Why?  A convenient open line to local officials to say ‘no.’

If we believe in anything, it’s our right to object to what we want over there, over here.

View the interview now on

Jay Vincent is senior vice president for energy, The Saint Consulting Group, email, phone 312.970.5770 Ext: 7502

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