Two recent studies demonstrate that wind and solar farms are becoming increasingly popular in the United States. What’s even more noteworthy is that it’s not just liberals that are trumpeting renewables anymore. Conservatives are jumping on board as well.
It looks like renewable energy is one of the few things Americans can agree on in these highly polarized times.
Study #1: Attitudes toward renewables projects
The first study was conducted by The Washington Post and the University of Maryland. The study found that the majority of individuals in the US express no objection to the construction of solar panel fields or wind turbines in their neighbourhoods. Surprisingly, these pro-renewables attitudes are mainstream among both political parties.
The authors asked Americans whether they would be comfortable or uncomfortable with a field of solar panels in their community. 75% of respondents said yes, including 87% of Democrats, 66% of Republicans, and 72% of Independents.
The authors also asked Americans whether they would be comfortable or uncomfortable with wind turbines in their neighborhood. 68% of respondents said yes, including 79% of Democrats, 59% of Republicans, and 67% of Independents.
The findings are fascinating in light of the vehement opposition that wind and solar farms often receive in local communities.
Clean energy blogger Carolyn Fortuna argues that a major cause of this local opposition is disinformation funded by fossil fuel advocacy groups. This disinformation is tailored to specific neighborhoods and projects. A 2022 MIT study discovered that local opposition to renewables projects is often driven by residents who support renewables in general.
The MIT study also found that local political opposition led to the permanent cancellation of 26 large-scale renewable energy projects in the US between 2008 and 2021.
Study #2: How renewables affect house prices
Solar farms are often claimed to lower the values of nearby properties. However, a second study authored by conservative Texans has debunked this myth.
The second study was conducted by the Conservative Texans for Energy Innovation (CTEI), in collaboration with the Advanced Power Alliance (APA) and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). The study explored how utility scale solar facilities affect house prices.
The study examined six utility scale solar projects in different stages of development across four counties in Texas. It compared real estate values of properties near the projects to those further away. The analysis considered factors such as land use types, price per square foot, sales to price list ratios, and days on the market.
The study revealed that there is a strong and competitive market for nearby residential properties both during and after the development of solar projects. Sales metrics were compared between areas close to the solar projects and those further away. The data showed similar trends across different locations, residential markets, and project stages.
Further investigation into individual sales confirmed that buyers and sellers were well-informed about the solar projects. This knowledge did not negatively affect the sale price or the amount of time that the properties spent on the market.
We’ve had evidence for some time that renewables are popular among conservatives. A 2020 analysis conducted by The Conversation found that conservatives want at least 77% of America’s energy supply to be produced from low-carbon sources.
Most right-leaning Americans do indeed recognize that “to conserve is conservative,” as CTEI states on its website.
Image Source: InceptiveMind, https://shorturl.at/bEV19