From New York to California, localities have taken action to stymie solar and wind energy projects to preserve their way of life, according to Manhattan Institute senior fellow Robert Bryce.
“All-renewable scenarios rely on the vacant-land myth, the faulty notion that there’s endless amounts of unused, uncared-for land out there in flyover country that’s ready and waiting to be covered with forests of renewable-energy stuff,” Bryce told Senate lawmakers in a hearing Thursday.
“The truth is quite different,” Bryce said in prepared testimony for the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
“Rural communities, even entire states, are resisting or rejecting wind, solar, and high-voltage transmission projects and that opposition is already slowing deployment of new renewable capacity in the U.S., Canada, and Europe,” Bryce said.
Amazon.com Gift Card i... Buy New $25.00 (as of 08:40 EDT - Details) Bryce chastised the “scant” media coverage of the growing resistance to renewable energy projects, which is especially important given Democrats push for sweeping plans, like the Green New Deal, to significantly ramp up renewable energy use.
“By contrast, national media coverage of the growing backlash against deployment of large-scale renewable-energy projects has been scant,” Bryce said. “That lack of media coverage is particularly true when it comes to controversies about wind-energy deployment.”
It’s not just wind energy development, Bryce said, but opposition to renewables in general that the media has glossed over in recent years. But that opposition complicates sweeping plans, like the Green New Deal, to power the U.S. on renewables.
“Since 2015, I have been tracking rural opposition to wind energy projects,” Bryce said. “By my count, some 225 government entities from New York to California have moved to restrict or reject wind projects.”
“You won’t read about it in the New York Times, but the towns of Yates and Somerset as well as three upstate New York counties – Erie, Orleans, and Niagara – have spent the past three years fighting the proposed 200-megawatt Lighthouse Wind project, which aims to put dozens of wind turbines near the shores of Lake Ontario,” Bryce added.
That sort of opposition could spell trouble for state and federal planners looking to put wind turbines off the East Coast. New York, for example, has a goal of getting 9 gigawatts of offshore wind power in eleven years.