Dec 23, 2022 • 1HR 7M

The right-wing groups behind renewable energy misinformation

A conversation with journalist Michael Thomas.

Open in playerListen on);
Volts is a podcast about leaving fossil fuels behind. I've been reporting on and explaining clean-energy topics for almost 20 years, and I love talking to politicians, analysts, innovators, and activists about the latest progress in the world's most important fight. (Volts is entirely subscriber-supported. Sign up!)
Episode details

It's easy to find stories in the media these days about communities blocking solar, wind, and other clean energy projects. This has prompted an enormous amount of discourse about NIMBYs and the challenges of permitting projects. What's often left out of the discourse — and almost always left out of those stories — is how such community groups receive organizational help and money from billionaire-funded right-wingers.


Across the country and the internet, there are hundreds of conservative think tanks, groups, and individuals working to stir up community opposition to renewable energy with misinformation and lies. With virtually no public scrutiny, they have secured state-level policies restricting renewable energy siting in dozens of states.

Michael Thomas

Independent journalist Michael Thomas set about to learn more about these right-wing groups. He joined anti-renewable-energy Facebook groups, combed through the tax filings of various right-wing think tanks, and tried to trace funding sources. He published the results in his own newsletter, Distilled.

I'm excited to talk to him about what he found: the groups involved, the tactics they use, the policies they've helped pass, and the best way to fight back.