Not just Kansas: World wide, communities are hating on wind & solar

All around the world, big solar and wind projects are being rejected. From rural England to the Osage Nation in Oklahoma, local communities are telling alt-energy developers to take their projects and put them where the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow. 

As I have documented in the Renewable Rejection Database, there have been at least 639 rejections or restrictions of wind or solar projects in the U.S. alone since 2015. 

Why are so many communities objecting? The answer is simple: landowners and homeowners want to preserve the integrity of their neighborhoods. 

Communities don’t want their landscapes and views destroyed by oceans of solar panels and forests 600-foot-high wind turbines. (AP Photo)

They don’t want their landscapes and views destroyed by oceans of solar panels and forests 600-foot-high wind turbines. They are also rightly concerned about the diminution of their property values and the noise pollution that comes with these projects. 

PROOF THAT WIND AND SOLAR ARE DISASTERS, AND NOT THE ENERGY AMERICA REALLY NEEDS

Don’t blame yourself if you haven’t heard about these rejections. The widespread opposition to wind and solar doesn’t fit the narrative that’s relentlessly pushed by the New York TimesNational Public Radio and other big media outlets about the “energy transition” and “clean” energy. 

Nor do they fit with claims made by the Biden administration, which has repeatedly touted its goal of having a “carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035.” 

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These myriad rejections are a massive problem for corporate interests that are trying to build huge new wind and solar projects. Indeed, rural communities are standing between big business and tens of billions of dollars in tax credits.

According to the latest numbers from the U.S. Treasury, this year alone, the production tax credit (used primarily for wind energy) and the investment tax credit (primarily solar) will cost taxpayers $35 billion. For reference, the oil and gas industry’s most significant tax credit, the depletion allowance, will cost taxpayers about $1.6 billion.

BIDEN’S CRAZY RUSH TO GREEN ENERGY WILL PUSH US TO ENDLESS BLACKOUTS

Given the vast sums at stake, it’s not surprising that lobbyists for the wind and solar sectors are pushing measures that strip local communities of their zoning authority and hand that authority to state bureaucrats. In fact, four heavily Democratic states, New York, California, Michigan and Illinois, have recently passed measures that do precisely that. 

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But before delving further into what’s happening across the U.S., here’s a quick roundup of what’s happening overseas

Last December, a French court ruled that a wind project in southern France near the town of Luna must be dismantled due to “noise complaints from residents and the effect it is having on birds.” According to one news report, “Residents in the immediate surrounding area have long complained about the noise from the windfarm.”

In March, a judge in Ireland sided with local landowners and ruled that the noise pollution generated by a wind project in County Wexford built near their properties amounted to a “nuisance to the plaintiffs.” The judge also wrote, “I find that the plaintiffs’ complaints are objectively justified in that the noise interferes with the ordinary comfort and enjoyment of their homes. When it occurs, this interference is a substantial interference.” Damages in the case have yet to be determined.  

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OUR BROKEN ENERGY POLICY COULD LEAVE AMERICANS IN THE DARK

In England, the solar rejections are piling up so fast it’s challenging to keep track. Since January, local authorities have rejected a 102-acre project in Cambridgeshire, a 198-acre project in Holbeach, a 66-acre project in Kent, a 96-acre project in Herefordshire, and a 103-acre project in Coventry. 

After the rejection of the Holbeach solar project, a local politician, Nick Worth, said the land “should be used for farming, not energy. We should be producing more food, not less, particularly on the best land in the country.” 

In January, an Australian court rejected an application for a 10-megawatt solar project proposed near Mudgee in New South Wales. The ruling confirmed the judgment of a regional council that had determined the project would be an “alien feature” on the landscape and that the area would be “irreversibly changed” by the 25,000-solar panel facility. 

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Last year, in Canada, regulators in Alberta imposed a moratorium on all wind and solar projects. In February, provincial officials announced updates to their regulations, including a ban on alt-energy projects on prime agricultural land. 

DON’T BE FOOLED, ‘GREEN ENERGY’ IS NEITHER GREEN NOR ENERGY

Further, in an unprecedented move, the rules will require a 35-kilometer (21.7 miles) buffer zone between wind and solar facilities and protected areas or “pristine landscapes.” Alberta Premier Danielle Smith said the new regulations were made in response to Alberta residents who “don’t want large scale developments to interfere with our province’s most beautiful natural features.” 

Back here in the U.S., in February, local officials in Tennessee vetoed a proposed solar project that was supposed to help fuel a data center owned by Facebook parent Meta Platforms. According to the Memphis Commercial Appeal, “A proposed solar farm that was slated to occupy about 600 acres of land in Millington was denied by the Shelby County Board of Commissioners Monday evening, amid fervent opposition from residents.” 

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The Shelby County denial is one of 212 rejections or restrictions of solar that have occurred since 2017. 

Meanwhile, as we show in our new five-part docuseries, “Juice: Power, Politics & The Grid,” the Osage tribe is prevailing in the longest-running legal battle over wind energy in American history. 

THE SLOW DEMISE OF GREEN ENERGY?

In December, a federal judge in Tulsa ruled that Enel, the Italian company, violated the tribe’s sovereignty when it built a 150-megawatt wind project on Osage traditional land but did not obtain mining leases from the tribe. The judge ordered the company to remove all 84 wind turbines, which the company says will cost about $300 million. 

The tribe’s legal battle with Enel started in 2011. Its court victory is a historic win for Native American sovereignty. 

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The federal court ruling is an embarrassing and costly loss for Enel and a massive black eye for the U.S. wind industry, which has repeatedly tried to roll over rural communities in its inexorable thirst for tax credits. Despite the importance of the decision, it’s been largely ignored in the media. 

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Legacy media outlets may refuse to honestly report on the growing backlash against wind and solar projects, but the facts on the ground are clear: 

The binding constraint on the growth of solar and wind around the world is that fewer and fewer communities are willing to accept the landscape destruction that comes with large alt-energy projects. And no amount of PR or spin can change that fact. 

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– Robert Bryce is a Texas-based reporter who has authored six books, including his latest, “A Question of Power: Electricity and the Wealth of Nations.” He is also  a co-producer of the new five-part docuseries, “Juice: Power, Politics & The Grid.” Follow him on Substack.

Robert Bryce – Fox News
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