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The expansion of wind and solar energy is facing significant limitations within the United States.

Restrictions on the Expansion of Wind and Solar Energy in the US

The expansion of wind and solar energy is facing significant limitations within the United States.

An increasing amount of red tape, in the form of bans, moratoriums, and construction impediments, is hindering the progress of wind and solar energy in the United States, according to an analysis by USA TODAY. Despite the country’s goal of achieving 100% clean energy by 2035, local governments are blocking green power faster than it is being built.

USA TODAY found that at least 15% of U.S. counties have effectively halted the development of utility-scale wind, solar, or both. These bans and impediments are not just affecting small-scale installations, but also large-scale projects that have the potential to replace power plants and provide electricity to tens of thousands of homes.

The opposition to renewable energy is not limited to a specific group, but rather a range of objections from various stakeholders. However, the overall result is a significant increase in the limitations on clean energy.

Currently, 60% of the country’s energy is derived from fossil fuels like coal and natural gas. To achieve the goal of 100% carbon-free energy, which includes nuclear and hydroelectric power in addition to wind and solar, there needs to be a significant ramp-up in utility-scale solar and wind electricity production.

While renewable energy construction is increasing across the country, the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s projections suggest that the mix of energy sources is still not on track to meet the goals set for 2035.

The analysis by USA TODAY reveals that the number of counties curbing new solar installations is almost equal to the number of counties adding their first solar farm. In the case of wind energy, the number of counties blocking new wind development significantly outweighs the number of counties adding wind projects.

There have been statewide bans on wind projects in several states, including North Carolina, Kentucky, Connecticut, Vermont, and Tennessee. Additionally, many individual counties in the Great Plains, the Midwest, and Texas have implemented restrictions on wind turbines or created rules that discourage power companies from pursuing certain locations.

The U.S. has immense wind and solar energy potential. Areas with consistent wind and sunlight can generate substantial amounts of electricity. However, bans and restrictions on wind turbines, especially in the Midwest, and limitations on large-scale solar plants in high-energy generation areas like the Southwest and Southeast, are impeding the utilization of this potential.

The restrictions on wind and solar energy are spreading quickly in recent years, with bans often extending to nearby counties. Many counties also have significant impediments that prevent construction, including zoning restrictions, land-use rules, and political opposition.

Zoning requirements, such as setback distances, can create significant obstacles for wind power installations. Some counties have setback requirements that

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