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Smart ALEC Attacks Renewables

11/29/12

  12:20:00 pm, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 626 words  
Categories: Solar Economics, SEIA, Climate Change, Ranting

Smart ALEC Attacks Renewables - UPDATED

ALEC logo

UPDATE - We are starting to see “news” articles that seem to be following the ALEC playbook, including one from the AP bemoaning the carbon footprint of solar modules, particularly once you considered disposal of associated hazardous waste.  But not so fast, says this piece which offers a contextual rebuttal.


The ultra-conservative American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) - the organization that brought you the much maligned “stand your ground laws” - has trained its guns on another vulnerable target: economic support for renewable energy.  Now it is up to the supporters of a clean energy future to push back against ALEC’s concerted campaign of “subversion” against renewables.

We have written before about the PR problems facing the solar industry, a problem that continues to this day.  However, we are starting to see that this problem isn’t simply the fault of misinformed or lazy reporters.  To the contrary, it now appears that there is an orchestrated campaign underway with the expressed intent of denigrating the entire renewable energy industry - and the spearhead of that campaign is ALEC.

ALEC’s mission - funded by such dirty energy sources as Exxon Mobil and the Koch brothers - is to develop conservative legislation for adoption by state legislatures around the country.  Although generally unknown to the public, ALEC has had considerable success pushing its conservative agenda, which now includes climate change denial.  Not content with promoting “model” legislation that would roll back Renewable Portfolio Standards, ALEC is now looking to create a national organization devoted to making the wind industry in particular - and potentially all renewables in general - unacceptable to the public, and thus to policy makers.

The Guardian newspaper got a copy of an ALEC internal memo that laid out their ultimate goal:

Cause subversion  in message of industry so that it effectively becomes so bad no one wants  to admit in public they are for it (much like wind has done to coal, by turning green to black and  clean to dirty).

Ultimate Goal: Change policy direction based on the message.

While it may be true that the present target of ALEC’s efforts is the wind industry, one need not be a visionary to realize that if they can succeed there the solar industry will be next.  And while the Orwellian prospect of “turning green to black and clean to dirty” might seem like an unlikely goal, these types of “big-lie” campaigns have been successful in the past. Indeed, the failure to take meaningful national action on Climate Change is at least in part attributable to the tactics of the Heartland Institute, coincidentally one of the co-conspirators on this scheme with ALEC.

So how do we fight back?  Here are a number of ways:

  1. Get informed - the Sierra Club has published a detailed report about the threat titled, “Clean Energy Under Siege” which is alarming but very informative.
  2. Get involved - if you are a solar installer you need to support our trade association, the Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA). If you are a concerned member of the public, the Sierra Club would love to have your support.
  3. Push back - contact your legislators and let them know that you are wise to the attack on renewables coming from ALEC and that you demand that your representatives say No!

Without a doubt the folks supporting ALEC have more money for this fight than does the renewable energy industry.  But we have the people on our side with more than 90% of the American electorate supportive of solar and other forms of clean, green energy.  Let this be our wake-up call - we are making strides and our opponents have noticed and are now fighting back.  As has been noted before, “First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win.”

It’s winning time!

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Jim Jenal is the Founder & CEO of Run on Sun, Pasadena's premier installer and integrator of top-of-the-line solar power installations.
In addition, Run on Sun offers solar consulting services, working with consumers, utilities and municipalities to help them make solar power affordable and reliable.

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