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 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
by Grace Wyler
11/21/13 — These days Barry Goldwater, Jr. is on an unlikely crusade. In March, the former California Republican congressman founded Tell Utilities Solar Won’t Be Killed, or TUSK, after Arizona’s largest electric utility proposed a hefty new fee on solar customers and a plan to lower net metering rates, which dictate how much electric utilities pay solar customers for excess energy sold back to the grid. “Republicans want the freedom to make the best choice,” Goldwater said in a statement on TUSK’s website. So he cobbled together a ragtag coalition of libertarian-minded conservatives, solar industry advocates, and business groups to wage a colorful guerrilla campaign. In the past few months, TUSK has run ads attacking the electric utility on conservative talk radio and the Drudge Report. They’ve posted clever YouTube videos, including a song parody sung to the tune of “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” “They Totally Think We’re Not Smart.”
Read the whole article: New Republic
by Christopher Martin
11/12/13 — Here’s a riddle to vex the Washington political class: When do Tea Party Republicans stand together with Sierra Club environmentalists?
The answer is on their support for solar energy against the monopoly power of traditional utilities in some of the most conservative U.S. states.
A Georgia splinter group known as the Green Tea Coalition, which is part of the broader anti-big-government movement, is reviving the Republican link with the Sierra Club that dates back more than a century to President Theodore Roosevelt’s work to protect the environment. Its influence is being felt in other states, from Arizona in the West to North Carolina on the East Coast.
Read the whole article: Bloomberg News