A nationwide misinformation campaign is underway to dismantle state-level policies critical to the growth of wind and solar. Panelists at the American Solar Energy Society (ASES) National Solar Conference taking place in Baltimore April 16-20, will unveil the misinformation at the heart of these efforts, and address ways to counter the opposition.
Special interest groups opposed to renewable energy and funded by fossil fuel interests, including the billionaire Koch brothers, are stepping up their misinformation campaign to repeal or weaken bipartisan Renewable Electricity Standards (RES) – also known as Renewable Portfolio Standards – in states across the US this year.
The nationwide effort to prevent adoption of renewable energy technologies is spearheaded by the Washington, DC-based American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a source of policy templates crafted by special interest groups and corporations and distributed to ALEC members in state legislatures nationwide. Sample legislation proffered by ALEC – such as the “Electricity Freedom Act” – has resulted in copycat bills to repeal or weaken existing renewable electricity standards sponsored by ALEC members in states like Kansas, North Carolina and Ohio this year.
The language found in ALEC’s legislative template makes no mention of the external costs imposed by fossil fuels, such as volatile fuel prices, air pollution, climate change and environmental degradation. Additionally, the legislation does not account for the benefits of job creation and risk mitigation.
Renewable electricity standards now in place in 29 states and the District of Columbia, require utilities to generate a certain percentage of their electricity using renewable energy technologies. While the standards vary from state to state, they have contributed to a doubling of the electricity generated by non-hydro renewable energy in the last five years. And that rate of growth is increasing, adding tens of thousands of jobs and creating the fastest-growing sector of the US economy in the process.
The panel discussion of political attacks on renewable energy includes:
- Jeffery Wolfe (Moderator), Founder and Chairman, groSolar
- Emily Duncan, Director of Government Affairs for the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA)
- Lisa Graves, Executive Director of the Center for Media and Democracy
- Gabe Elsner, Director of the Checks & Balances Project
- David Anderson, Outreach Coordinator for Climate and Energy Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists
About the American Solar Energy Society
Established in 1954, the nonprofit American Solar Energy Society (ASES) is the nation’s leading association of solar professionals and advocates. Our mission is to inspire an era of energy innovation and speed the transition to a sustainable energy economy. ASES leads national efforts to increase the use of solar energy and other sustainable technologies through the publication of the award-winning SOLAR TODAY magazine, the ASES National Solar Tour – the largest grassroots solar event in the world, and the the ASES National Solar Conference. For more information about ASES and the SOLAR 2013 conference please visit http://www.ases.org/solar2013.