Activists eclipse solar expansion with protests

By Scoop
April 18, 2022 · less than 3 min read

Solar power requires far more land than fossil fuels. And to meet government emissions goals, wide-scale expansion is needed. But activists just ain’t buying it.

Not in my back yard

Solar energy currently makes up 3% of the US electricity supply. The government’s aim is for this to rocket to 45% by 2050, to eliminate or offset emissions. The path is clear – but getting there is a problem.

Meeting the Biden administration’s current goals would require a land area that’s double the size of Massachusetts. And not just any old land. Requirements are that it’s flat, dry, gets ample sunlight (duh), and is close to transmission infrastructure. So now, as huge projects begin to take shape across the States, from Kansas to Texas, Virginia to Maine, there are plenty of people that just aren’t feeling it.

Social media mobilization

According to Reuters, there are around 45 groups or pages on Facebook dedicated to opposing large solar projects, with some literally titled “No Solar in Our Back Yards!”. The wide-scale mobilization online uses concerns like tree removal, soil erosion and loss of scenic vistas as a base for their protest of rural land use for solar farms. And plenty of people are on board with these protests.

To meet the targets, these farms have to go somewhere. But while in 2015, when the first large solar projects were built, there was little opposition, now there’s an online army across the country that’s taking the fight to the top.

Although there are always battles to be fought and won, we’ll all be losers if we can’t find a resolution to the climate crisis.

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