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 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 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
by Nick Coltraine
ATHENS 10/30/13 – A proposed tariff on solar energy generators, Plant Vogtle and an overall price increase proposed by Georgia Power dominated a discussion with Georgia Public Service Commissioner Tim Echols on Wednesday.
The town hall at the University of Georgia Chapel, organized by the Sierra Club and consumer advocates with Georgia Watch, burst into applause after impassioned speeches from attendants about clean energy, climate change and fighting against “King Georgia Power,” as one attendee called the state utility.
Read the whole article: OnLineAthens
by Mark Eggers
GAINESVILLE 10/29/13 – Georgia Public Service Commission member Tim Echols addressed the audience Tuesday evening in the Brenau Downtown Center, saying, “There’s really no perfect form of energy out there, even solar has its issues.”
Echols and fellow Commissioner Lauren “Bubba” McDonald had traveled from Atlanta to hear the opinions and suggestions of consumers in northeast Georgia at an open town-meeting sponsored by consumer advocacy group Georgia Watch and environmental organization, the Sierra Club.
Tonight’s meeting, being the third of four across the state, was organized because Georgia Power has requested permission to raise their power rates by $478 million at year’s end. They need the Public Service Commission’s consent to do so as the utility operates under the Commission’s aegis. The Commission wants consumer input.
Read the whole article: AccessNorthGA.com
By Mary Landers
SAVANNAH 10/17/13 – “Unconscionable” and “theft” were two of the words used Thursday evening to describe a residential rate hike and fee on solar installations proposed by Georgia Power.
More than 50 people attended a meeting sponsored by Georgia Watch and the Sierra Club at the Coastal Georgia Center to discuss the issues.
The rate hike, proposed in July, would have average residential customers paying almost $8 more a month. Some homeowners with solar panels would pay a new monthly fee of about $22 by Georgia Power’s estimations.
Read the whole article: Connect Savannah