Large-scale solar and wind projects have been popping up on landscapes across the country with increasing frequency. But not all communities give the energy infrastructure a welcome reception.

As of April, The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin has approved 4,176 megawatts of solar projects, encompassing over 29,000 acres. This spring, the U.S. Department of Energy announced it’s awarding UW-Extension $1 million to educate communities about large-scale renewables to make siting and developing those projects smoother.

The goal is to make large-scale solar and wind projects work for all involved, said Sherrie Gruder, sustainable design specialist and energy strategist for UW-Extension, who is overseeing the initiative. Gruder said the grant will help local governments and residents “have a voice in making the projects work well for the values and the goals of the communities in our state.”

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