by Anne Fisher
Decatur Self Storage’s array of solar cells Photograph by David Tulis — AP
7/7/15 — An unlikely political alliance in the Peach State has produced a big spike in solar projects.
Green employment in the U.S. is tiny, but it keeps picking up steam. In the first three months of 2015, about 40 new renewable energy and clean transportation projects were launched in 19 states, creating more than 9,800 jobs.
That’s not many, but it’s almost double the number created in the first quarter last year, notes a new report from Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2), a nonprofit, nonpartisan business group that tracks green employment. Solar power openings grew the most, adding about 6,600 jobs nationwide — about 2,000 of them from five new projects in Georgia.
Read the whole article: Fortune
by Ivan Penn
TAMPA 1/13/15 — Imagine the Christian Coalition and the tea party joining hands with liberals and environmentalists.
Add to the Kumbaya moment Libertarians and Florida’s retail business federation.
They all plan to unite this morning for a news conference in Tallahassee about their campaign to allow those in Florida who generate electricity from the sun to sell that power directly to other consumers. Right now, that’s illegal here.
The coalition, which has dubbed itself Floridians for Solar Choice, has crafted a petition that was approved for circulation last month. They’ll need 683,149 signatures by Feb. 1, 2016, to get the question on the ballot for the 2016 election.
For some it’s ideological. For others, such as the retailers, it’s pure economics.
Read the whole article: Tampa Bay Times
by Ivan Penn
1/6/15 Tampa — Backers of broader use of solar energy in Florida have quietly launched a petition for the 2016 ballot that would allow those who generate electricity from the sun to sell the power directly to other consumers.
If the measure passes, solar proponents argue that it would open up Florida’s solar energy market, which has largely stagnated for years. The measure would allow business or property owners to produce up to 2 megawatts of solar power and then sell that power directly to others, such as tenants, without having to go through a utility.
Read the whole article: Tampa Bay Times
by John Schwartz
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. 1/25/14 — In conservative politics, solar power is often dismissed as an affectation, part of a liberal agenda to funnel money to “solar cronies” of the Obama administration and further the “global warming hoax.”
So one would not expect to see Barry Goldwater Jr., the very picture of modern conservatism and son of the 1964 Republican nominee for president, arguing passionately on behalf of solar energy customers. But there he was last fall, very publicly opposing a push by Arizona’s biggest utility to charge as much as $100 a month to people who put solar panels on their roofs.
The utilities, backed by conservative business interests, argue that solar users who have lower power bills because of government subsidies are not paying their fair share to maintain the power grid. Mr. Goldwater and other advocates have struck back by calling the proposed fees a “solar tax,” and have pushed their message in ads on Fox News and the Drudge Report.
Similar conflicts are going on in California and Colorado, with many more to come. And as the issue pops up, conservatives are even joining forces with environmental groups. In Georgia, a Tea Party activist and the Sierra Club formed a “Green Tea Coalition.”
Read the whole article: The New York Times
by Jacob Sandry
Why Conservatives love clean energy
Efficiency and Competition
The costs of technologies like solar have dropped meteorically over the past few years, making renewables efficient and reliable. More renewables means more competition in the free market, which should drive down prices, benefiting customers.
Choice and Self-reliance
Electricity is dominated by regional monopolies across the United States. Renewables give customers more choices over their electricity purchases so they aren’t solely reliant on big utilities for their energy.
Clean energy can reduce our dependence on oil from volatile countries. The military is pumping billions of dollars into renewables to increase troop readiness and independence. It also makes us more prepared for major blackouts from cyber attacks or storms.
Read the whole article: Huffington Post
By Darren Goode
12/2/13 — Can conservatives and environmentalists get along again?
Activists around the country are giving it a try.
In Appalachia, greens are banding together with the Tennessee Conservative Union to oppose mountaintop mining. In Georgia, the Sierra Club and Atlanta’s tea party have formed a Green Tea Coalition that is demanding a bigger role for solar power in the state’s energy market. Elsewhere, veterans of the George W. Bush administration are working with the Environmental Defense Fund on market-based ideas for protecting endangered species.
It’s not yet a broad national trend, and may not be enough to begin dampening Washington’s bitter left-right split over President Barack Obama’s environmental policies. But some activists — particularly outside the Beltway — see potential for the kinds of coalitions that used to get big things done, back in the days when Theodore Roosevelt was creating national parks and George H.W. Bush’s administration was taking on acid rain.
Read the whole article: POLITICO
by Chris Martin
11/27/13 – Here’s a riddle to vex the Washington political class: When do Tea Party Republicans stand together with Sierra Club environmentalists?
The answer lies in their support for solar energy. The Green Tea Coalition, a Georgia-based group, is reviving a Republican Party link with the Sierra Club that dates back more than a century to President Theodore Roosevelt. Their goal is to reignite support for environmental conservation and fight traditional utilities’ market power by pushing alternative energy sources, especially solar power. “Some people have called this an unholy alliance,” says Debbie Dooley, a co-founder of both the coalition and the Atlanta Tea Party Patriots. “We agree on the need to develop clean energy, but not much else.”
In recent years, Dooley organized protests of what she calls Georgia Power’s (SO) stranglehold on its customers. She was especially rankled in 2009 after the company, the state’s largest utility, added a monthly surcharge to customer bills to finance the development of two nuclear reactors south of Augusta. In 2012, Dooley was approached by the local chapter of the Sierra Club about joining forces to lobby Georgia’s Public Service Commission to require Georgia Power to buy more solar power.
Read the whole article: Businessweek