When it comes to siting renewables, the overwhelming majority of the money, media, and momentum is on the side of the companies that want to impose large wind, solar, and battery projects on rural communities. But over the past few weeks, onshore and offshore, from Iowa to Ireland, and Colombia to New Jersey, renewable projects have been getting hammered by a tidal wave of opposition.

I just finished updating the Renewable Rejection Database to include a spate of restrictions or rejections that have been enacted in Iowa, Illinois, and Ohio. The new totals: Since 2015, there have been 389 rejections or restrictions of wind energy projects and 134 rejections or restrictions of solar projects, bringing the total number of rejections to 523. So far in 2023, there’ve been 23 rejections of wind and 24 rejections of solar.

Before going further, let me state the obvious: These hundreds of rejections don’t fit the narrative around “clean” energy that’s been relentlessly promoted by the anti-industry industry, academics, and their myriad allies in the legacy media. But the numbers are the numbers. And the rejections keep piling up. Let’s look at some of the most recent ones.

Last month in Iowa, according to a news report from KRIB, an AM radio station in Mason City, the Cerro Gordo County Board of Supervisors approved “an 18-month moratorium on accepting applications on issuing permits for utility-scale wind energy conversion systems, solar energy installations, and battery storage installations in the rural portions of the county.” The radio station said that 12 people spoke during the “public hearing about the moratorium, with only two being against.” The piece quoted Stuart Seible, a resident of the town of Swaledale (population 144), who told the supervisors he didn’t “want any more windmills around the area of his property.” Seible went on, saying “You’re going to have to live with that ugliness the rest of your life, because these things will last 30 years or so.”  

In Illinois, Apex Clean Energy — which has had its projects rejected in several states, including New York — saw another of its projects get spiked in March when the Piatt County Board voted against its application for a special use permit to build a 300-megawatt wind project in the county. After the permit was denied on a 3-2 vote, the Piatt County Journal-Republican newspaper quoted Board Member Jerry Edwards, (who voted against the project), as saying “We were elected by the people in our various districts to do what is best for our constituents...I have heard from a lot of residents of Piatt County and for the vast majority, this is something they do not want.”

Read the rest of this piece at Robert Bryce Substack.

Robert Bryce is a Texas-based author, journalist, film producer, and podcaster. His articles have appeared in a myriad of publications including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Forbes, Time, Austin Chronicle, and Sydney Morning Herald.

Photo: courtesy Robert Bryce Substack.