Great idea, just not here

  Chestnut Hill Baptist Church in Exeter.

Chestnut Hill Baptist Church in Exeter.

A lot of people in rural Exeter, R.I., apparently don’t want big wind- or solar-powered electricity generation in their town, which includes small if woodsy landholdings as well as some big estates of rich people. It would be nice if all big solar- and wind-energy facilities could be put on such places as vacant parking lots at closed malls, at Superfund sites and the roofs of closed factories but we’ll need more space than that to move very deeply into a post-fossil-fuel world.

John Scuncio, former police chief on nearby and also rural Hopkinton, touted  solar panels and wind turbines because “when you tie up a piece of property with solar or wind’’ you remove land that could otherwise be developed for housing. But I’d guess that most people in Exeter don’t want more houses or large green energy projects, although they do want electricity, to be generated somewhere.

Exeter is an example of why housing costs are so high in New England:  Legal (“snob zoning”) and informal restrictions on expanding the supply of housing units make existing housing that much more expensive.