What’s driving the surge in opposition to renewables?

Facebook groups and media manipulation are contributing to increased local opposition to wind and solar projects.

On The Carbon Copy podcast this week:

In the last five years, the amount of solar capacity connected to America’s grid has nearly tripled, while U.S. wind capacity has grown 60%. And in just the last year alone, battery capacity has doubled.

But there’s also a surge in opposition to local projects. According to the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University, there are now 121 local policies that block or restrict wind or solar in 31 states — nearly an 18% increase since 2021. What’s causing it?

The opposition is coming in many different forms. In this episode, we’ll focus on two of them: the coordinated spread of disinformation in local Facebook groups and dark money being funneled to news websites that are protecting utilities’ political power.

We talk with Michael Thomas, founder and author of the Distilled newsletter, who embedded himself with dozens of local Facebook groups devoted to fighting renewables. 

And we also speak with Miranda Green, director of investigations at Floodlight, about how shadowy national groups coordinate to spread bad information via Facebook. Plus, she’ll tell the story of how her team uncovered a new method of influence-peddling: utilities propping up news sites that cut down their critics.

The Carbon Copy is supported by FischTank PR, a public relations, strategic messaging and social media agency dedicated to elevating the work of climate and clean energy companies. Learn more about FischTank’s approach to cleantech and their services: fischtankpr.com.

The Carbon Copy is brought to you by Sungrow. Now in more than 150 countries, Sungrow’s solutions include inverters for utility-scale, commercial and industrial solar, plus energy storage systems. Learn more at us.sungrowpower.com.