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Noah Smith

The Left's NIMBY War Against Renewable Energy

State and national leaders need to move more forcefully to override local protestors who are blocking new solar and wind developments under the guise of land conservation.

A case of misplaced priorities.

A case of misplaced priorities.

Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP

There’s not a more important economic imperative for the U.S. than the transition to renewable energy. Ominously, anti-development forces — commonly known as NIMBYs — threaten to make this transition much harder. And much of that NIMBY energy is coming from the political left.

Consider the recent blockage of a solar power plant near Las Vegas. The Battle Born Solar Project, set on a rock formation called Mormon Mesa, would have been the nation’s largest. It would have provided a tenth of the state’s generating capacity, enough to power more than 800,000 homes. And since Nevada mostly uses power generated from natural gas, the project would have made a significant dent in greenhouse emissions.