The Real Cost of NIMBYism

by | Feb 20, 2013

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All over the world renewable energy projects are being delayed or stopped entirely due to the NIMBY or “not in my backyard” phenomenon, this is a case that often involves people in communities who stall developments in their areas due to a variety of reasons. NIMBYism is not limited to the United States, it is global. The amount of revenue and jobs that have been lost or delayed due to public opposition and protest to renewable energy projects is astounding.

Wind farm projects in Staffordshire County, UK, have been delayed due to community resistance. Wind farms would serve as a good renewable energy source for the region, but the community feels the development would harm their rural communities and prevent tourism. The community concerns have now reached the government and the project has continued to be stalled.

In Dennis, Massachusetts members of the community oppose the wind energy project currently going on.  Though the wind farm creates a viable source of renewable energy, many residents complain about the noise of the wind turbines, and would like them shut off at night or altogether.

In Bedminster Township, New Jersey solar projects are being delayed because of opposition from the local residents. The community fears that covering a local farm with solar panels will harm the natural resources of the area and destroy the rural feel of the region.  The developers of the project say that the solar energy produced annually would be equivalent to the amount of electricity for 1,053 homes. Though solar energy has many benefits, the community continues to resist the idea because of the change that would happen to the town landscape.

Solar projects in California have been delayed and fought for years by community members.  Many people who live in the desert do not want the solar panels there because they do not think of the desert as empty space, but as their land and many people farm plants there.  Solar energy is quiet and clean, but the community members still feel the panels will affect their lives.

The US Chamber of Commerce put into action an initiative called Project No Project, which looks at energy projects being delayed or stopped entirely due to NIMBYism. Project No Project has projected that in the short term the 351 projects the group looked at could produce $1.1 trillion for the economy and create 1.9 million jobs a year. Also once these projects are created and established, they are estimated to produce $145 billion and create 791,000 jobs.

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