Environmentalists who oppose biofuels & biomass imagine solar & wind farms are fundamentally different even though they suffer from the same low energy density problem.
Over the last 10 years, the cost of solar panels and wind turbines declined so significantly, and were scaled-up so quickly, that many people came to believe that a transition to renewables, as proposed by advocates of a Green New Deal, was all but inevitable.
We already have all the technologies we need to transition to 100% renewables, leading scientists and scholars told The New Yorker’s John Cassidy. “The only reason not to do it is political inertia and the influence of the existing fossil-fuel industry,” one said.
And yet grassroots opposition to solar and wind farms is growing and has nothing to do with fossil fuel interests, climate skepticism, or bureaucratic inertia. Indeed, most of it is motivated by concerns over the impact of renewables on the natural environment and quality-of-life.
The largest county in California, San Bernardino, last week banned the building of any more large solar and wind farms over the opposition of renewable energy lobbyists and labor unions. They did so on behalf of conservationists and locals seeking to protect fragile desert ecosystems.
In January, policymakers in Spotsylvania, Virginia voted to block the building of a solar farm, which would be the largest in America east of the Rocky Mountains, after local residents organized themselves in opposition out of concern over the impact on the environment, property values, and electricity prices.