by Robert Wilkinson
It seems the Koch brothers and ALEC are spending millions trying to undo solar energy legislation and fighting rooftop solar generators.
This latest news about these men of bad intent comes courtesy of the LA Times in a story written by Evan Halper titled Conservative heavyweights have solar industry in their sights where we read “The Koch brothers and large utilities have allied to reverse state policies that favor renewable energy. Environmentalists are pushing back, but the fight is spreading and intensifying.”
From the story:
The Koch brothers, anti-tax activist Grover Norquist and some of the nation's largest power companies have backed efforts in recent months to roll back state policies that favor green energy. The conservative luminaries have pushed campaigns in Kansas, North Carolina and Arizona, with the battle rapidly spreading to other states ...including Ohio, South Carolina and Washington…
At the nub of the dispute are two policies found in dozens of states. One requires utilities to get a certain share of power from renewable sources. The other, known as net metering, guarantees homeowners or businesses with solar panels on their roofs the right to sell any excess electricity back into the power grid at attractive rates.
Net metering forms the linchpin of the solar-energy business model. Without it, firms say, solar power would be prohibitively expensive.
Of course the power industry argues they should make obscene profits even off those who generate their own power, and it seems they’re freaked out “that profits could erode catastrophically if current policies and market trends continue.” Boo hoo.
We find the usual culprits trying to monkeywrench the effort to make us energy independent. I for one am “shocked” (/snark) that the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, a truly evil organization if ever there was one, has been drafting legislation aimed at repealing green energy mandates and putting a fee on every house trying to generate solar energy. This along with Koch brothers’ “Americans for Prosperity,” lobbying hard to kill any state mandate for any renewable energy in the future. Of course, since the Koch brothers own the majority of oil coming out of the Canadian tar sands, it’s no wonder they don’t want any solar energy to cut into their profits.
We also read in the article that “Some studies, including one published recently by regulators in Vermont, conclude that solar customers bring enough benefits to a regional power supply to fully defray the cost of the incentive.” Of course utility companies deny this as they spend millions of our dollars to influence legislation attempting to continue their power monopoly.
And yes, we also read that recently ALEC and the Kochs invested millions in Arizona “to persuade state regulators to impose a monthly fee of $50 to $100 on net-metering customers.” I guess it’s to the credit of the state regulators that they only imposed a $5 fee, but it’s still absurd that those who are generating free power and not draining the juice still have to pay anything for doing that public service.
Anyway, please go over to the original article, since there’s a lot more about who’s behind the effort to kill rooftop solar across the country. It seems some people are willing to commit felonies to preserve profits for the plutocrats who just don’t care how much they pollute, or how much people have to spend for basic services. This is the ugliest side of capitalism without conscience, where the greed of the few is attempting to destroy that which is for the benefit of all.
© Copyright 2014 Robert Wilkinson