The United States is undergoing a historic energy transition driven by technological advancements, cost reductions, climate mitigation policies, and other factors. As a result, renewable energy sources are gaining a growing share in the country’s electricity portfolio. This study aims to examine the relationship between proximity to renewable energy facilities and public support for these energy sources.
The relationship between proximity and support:
Previous research on the relationship between proximity to fossil fuel sources and support for such fuels has yielded inconsistent results, varying across different times and locations. However, there is a lack of studies investigating the relationship between proximity to renewable energy and public support. This study utilizes two waves of a national survey in the United States to analyze the relationship.
The findings indicate that proximity to renewable energy facilities does nor predict pubic support for these energy sources. Additionally, panel regression results suggest that local growth in renewable energy does not impact support for renewables. Instead, political factors and perceptions of climate change risks are found to be the most influential factors in shaping public support.
Context and temporal perspective:
The growth of renewable energy generation has brought energy production closer to a larger number of people in the United States. Millions of American households live within proximity to wind turbines and other renewable facilities. This occurs in a context of heightened political polarization, particularly regarding climate change. However, states and local communities are increasingly enacting measures to expand renewables.
Factors influencing support for renewables:
These are geographical and political variations in support of Renewables. Nevertheless, this study highlights that proximity to renewable energy facilities is not a determining factor in public support. Instead, political factors and perceptions of climate change risks play a more significant role in shaping attitudes towards renewables. Furthermore, unlike fossil fuels, renewables lack the same cultural and social significance.
In conclusion, this study suggests that proximity to renewable energy facilities is not a key factor in determining public support for these energy sources in the United States. Political factors and perceptions of climate change risks are the primary drivers of support for renewables. As the country continues its transition towards a more sustainable energy mix, it is essential to understand these factors to promote greater adoption of renewables and address associated socio-economic and political challenges.