Environmentalists have made their mark by putting a halt to things for decades. Petroleum facilities that release hazardous air pollutants. Pipelines cut across Native American territory for oil and gas drilling.
But everything is set to change due to climate change. Experts predict that in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the United States to zero, the nation will need to create a significant amount of energy infrastructure—something that environmentalists have long resisted. And quickly.
Building wind, solar, and the transmission lines that can deliver their power to city centres are now hampered by several obstacles. Democrats are drafting a plan to expedite this kind of permitting, but the majority of environmentalists are opposed to it because it would encourage oil and gas development.
The head of climate and energy at the center-left think tank Third Way, Josh Freed, stated, “We’re going to have to construct a lot more of everything clean.” “The United States is experiencing a problem with its infrastructure. Anything large or ambitious can no longer be constructed by us in a reasonable amount of time.
According to a Princeton University research, wind farms would need to be installed over the Great Plains and the Midwest, equivalent to at least the states of Illinois and Indiana, in order to achieve net-zero carbon emissions. The area covered by solar panels will be at least as big as Connecticut. In addition, it will be necessary to construct thousands of miles of high-voltage transmission lines to move all that electricity from its primary sources, largely rural areas of the nation, to distant metropolitan centres.
And these initiatives must start up as soon as possible. In only the next eight years, solar and wind power in the United States will need to quadruple, according to a study by the DecarbAmerica Project.
Many of these proposals, however, are currently stalled by a tangle of perplexing laws and local opposition. For decades, locals opposed plans to construct wind farms off the coast of New England, claiming it would obstruct their ability to enjoy the ocean. Pennsylvania landowners who said the connection wouldn’t benefit their state enough halted a transmission line from Pennsylvania to Maryland.
Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) and Senate Democratic leaders have now reached an agreement that might simplify the energy permitting process. Democrats promised Manchin that they would pass a separate bill this fall to expedite the permitting process for constructing energy infrastructure, both clean and fossil fuel, during negotiations over the Inflation Reduction Act, the sizable health and climate spending bill that passed Congress in August.
What President Biden is doing to combat climate change is listed below.
Energy experts, however, contend that, depending on the terms of the agreement, permitting reform might aid in the United States’ transition to sustainable energy, ultimately favoring renewables over fossil fuels.
For example, Liza Reed, the research manager for electricity transmission at the Niskanen Center, a center-right think tank, contends that expanding the connectivity of the electric grid is crucial for reducing carbon emissions. She emphasises that it is uncommon for wind and sun energy to coexist in an area where power is required. We must drastically and swiftly increase transmission, she stressed. There is no way around it.