I think a lot of us get kind of hypocritical when it comes to renewable energy. Most people are coming around to the idea that having renewable energy is a good idea. People can see that we are going to have to embrace this sometime in the near future. The problem is that nobody wants it in their back yard. I mean there are some people who are really dedicated to renewable energy such as the house I mentioned in my last post that installed wind turbines literally in their back yard. But it seems like a lot of people want renewable energy generation to be nowhere near them.
This is not only a problem for small scale home generation, but it also applies to industrial generation as well. Often when an industrial wind farm starts in its planning phase there will be a lot of opposition by the people in the surrounding area. They claim that “it is an eye sore”, and that “it will reduce their property value.” These same protests can be heard about industrial solar projects as well. So it seems like people want this kind of clean energy, they just don’t want to have to see it.
There are a few possible things that can be done to overcome this problem. First, developers can plan these large generation facilities in the middle of nowhere. Being from Nevada, I know that we have a whole bunch of “middle of nowhere”. This is a good solution on the surface, but you run into the inevitable problem of “Transmission is Expensive.” Another thing that could be done is to have a massive PR campaign to start changing the public’s perception of renewable energy and its requirements. The final solution I can see for this problem is a technological one. We have to develop new and better methods for generating power. I can see a future where we can utilize new technologies which can generate power from sources that blend in with their surroundings. One great current example of this is SolarCity’s new roof tile solar panels. They look just like any normal roof tiles. I believe these technological solutions are the best answer.
If you have any ideas for how to solve the “not in my backyard” problem, please let me know about them in the comments below.
Lead Photo Credit: http://kickofjoy.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/nimbyfeature.jpg
Wind farm Photo Credit: http://teachnuclear.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Wind-farm.jpg