Massive Riots, Renewable Resentments


The warnings about the landscape-destroying sprawl of wind and solar energy have been coming for nearly two decades. The warnings have come from some of the world’s most prominent scientists, government agencies, and energy analysts.

Unfortunately, those warnings were ignored. And now, all over the world, rural people are reacting with fury at the encroachment of large wind and solar projects on their homes and neighborhoods. The backlash has been ongoing for years and can be seen from the Golan Heights to Oahu. Of course, the backlash against the energy sprawl that frequently comes with large-scale renewable projects doesn’t fit the narrative being pushed by climate activists, anti-industry NGOs, and their myriad allies at legacy media outlets.

Despite the dearth of honest reporting from outlets like the New York Times and National Public Radio, the backlash is irrefutable, it’s growing, and it’s happening on multiple continents. In June, thousands of Druze residents in the Golan Heights rioted to stop the installation of a large wind project on their traditional lands. Last month, Australia’s largest farmers union said it wanted a moratorium on new solar projects. In May, a wind project in Colombia being pushed by the Italian company, Enel, was canceled after it met fierce opposition from the indigenous Wayuu communities.

Meanwhile, here in the U.S., over the last 10 days, local governments in Illinois, Ohio, and Iowa have rejected or restricted wind and solar projects. Those moves bring the total number of rejections or restrictions in the Renewable Rejection Database to 574.

I’ll dive into the details of what’s happening in Israel, Australia, Colombia, and places like Erie County, Ohio, in a moment. First, it’s essential to put these land-use conflicts into historical context. And that requires a review of the warnings about renewables and land use that have been made over the past two decades. For instance, in 2004, Jesse Ausubel, the director of the Program for the Human Environment at Rockefeller University, declared that “Solar and the so-called renewables are not green when considered on the large scales required.”

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: Israel police. Druze residents protesting a wind project near the village of Majdal Shams in the Golan Heights, June 21, 2023.