Sources of opposition to renewable energy projects in the United States

TitleSources of opposition to renewable energy projects in the United States
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2022
AuthorsSusskind, L, Chun, J, Gant, A, Hodgkins, C, Cohen, J, Lohmar, S
JournalEnergy Policy

Many policy analysts believe that once electricity from renewable energy becomes less expensive than electricity from fossil fuel, new renewable energy facilities will be built quickly across the United States. Cost-effective renewable energy has largely been achieved, but there appear to be substantial barriers to building new renewable energy facilities. We identified 53 utility-scale wind, solar, and geothermal energy projects that were delayed or blocked between 2008 and 2021 in 28 U.S. states. Using multi-level qualitative analysis, we have identified seven key sources of opposition. Of the projects we studied, 34% faced significant delays and difficulties securing permits, 49% were cancelled permanently, and 26% resumed after being stopped for several months or years. Project delays and cancellations account for potential lost generating capacity of almost 4600 MW. State and local governments and renewable energy developers need to pay closer attention to the full range of socially-oriented sources of opposition to new facilities.