Across the nation, the transition to green energy has been met with a surge in opposition and restrictions. As the U.S. aims to achieve 100% clean energy by 2035, there is a growing concern surrounding the obstacles that are hindering the construction of solar and wind power facilities.
While the U.S. is making efforts to increase its energy supply from commercial wind and solar to 19% by 2025, local governments in at least 15% of counties have effectively halted new utility-scale wind, solar, or both. These limits come in the form of bans, moratoriums, construction impediments, and other conditions that make it difficult to develop green energy infrastructure.
The challenge doesn’t just lie in the opposition to wind and solar projects; it’s also about meeting the country’s goal to shift away from greenhouse gas-producing energy in time. The growing gap between the need for clean energy and the obstacles that prevent its construction is raising concerns among policymakers, environmentalists, and energy developers.
As the onslaught of climate disasters continues to magnify the urgency for a transition to clean energy, it’s becoming clear that the opposition to renewable energy isn’t easily categorized. It’s not just about politics or big versus small activists. The opposition is multifaceted, with a diverse range of objections and sources. From national think tanks with ties to fossil fuel funding to unexpected opposition from local activists, the hurdles are as varied as the arguments against green energy.
What’s more, there is a notable concern regarding the economic consequences of this opposition. Rural counties that are open to renewable energy projects stand to benefit from significant economic impact — hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue that could rejuvenate shrinking communities. However, these potential benefits are at risk due to the surge in local restrictions and impediments.
The future of renewable energy in the U.S. is at a critical juncture as the opposition to large solar and wind farms continues to grow, and the urgency to accelerate the transition to clean energy becomes increasingly palpable. The country is faced with the challenge of balancing the need for renewable energy with the concerns of local communities, property rights, and environmental impacts. As the world grapples with the impacts of climate change, the country’s ability to overcome these obstacles and achieve its clean energy goals remains uncertain.