If we’re going to build out renewable energy in the ways that the climate crisis requires, it’s going to require intruding on some of the natural landscape. By contrast, a report from Columbia Law School’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law finds that state and local governments across the country have been passing laws designed to restrict the expansion of solar and wind projects. Sometimes, they’ve acted at the behest of the fossil-fuel industry—as reported in Gizmodo, the Koch front group Americans for Prosperity played a part in blocking a major Texas wind farm. But some of the push came from local people who just didn’t want to look at wind turbines. A better method would be to give locals a stake in the economic success of the enterprise. But, as huge offshore wind farms begin to sprout, only large corporations have access to the billions of dollars required for construction. It’s becoming increasingly difficult for small players to buy into projects. But we shouldn’t give up on the idea of democratizing energy ownership as much as possible.
By Bill McKibben, The New Yorker. March 3, 2021.