SEIA Pushes for Far More Powerful Lobby Against Fossil Industry

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The solar industry seems to be finally waking up to the fact that it has enemies, according to Jennifer Runyon, the editor at Renewable Energy World. She noted that at Solar Power International this week in Los Angeles, after Rhone Resch, President of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEAI) highlighted all of the great achievements in the solar industry, and the rosy future he hopes for, he made an unusually direct statement.

The renewable energy industry has enemies and the enemies have deep pockets. Resch said that Big Oil spent $500 million to defeat legislation that would have created a national Renewable Energy Standard and cap and trade climate legislation.  He explained that millions of dollars are being spent in California under Prop 23 to repeal that state’s RES.

Resch urged the industry to act like a team – Team Solar.  He said every member of the solar industry should join SEIA and contribute to the SEIA political action committee, pointing out that if everyone in the room gave $10, it would equal the amount of money that the oil and coal lobby has at its disposal to promote its own agenda.

The concerted attempt by the oil and gas industries to stop AB32, California’s clean energy and climate bill using Prop 23, the Trogan Horse of a “temporary” halt to pollution law, seems to have been the catalyst that has woken up the clean energy industry. Runyon said that she didn’t think she had ever seen the solar industry so frank in its assessment.

A Google map overlay reveals where the money for and against Prop 23 comes from.

While most of the sources are self-explanatory, Kansas might seem to be an odd place to be spending money to fight against renewable energy in California.

Anti-renewable energy funds are coming from Kansas because Kansas is the primary home of the Koch Brothers whose sizable inherited wealth is all invested in the fossil industry. The Koch Brothers AstroTurf organization The Tea Party is being exploited to kill renewable energy development in this country. This week a video provides evidence refuting their claim of there being no connection between the two.

I agree with Resch that it is high time that the solar industry got serious about developing the clout it needs against the very real enemies that are arrayed against a switch to a sustainable economy, for their personal gain. And not just the solar industry.

The entire green tech sector is in the same boat as solar when it comes to being up against the far stronger fossil industry that now controls our congress. This counter-lobbying force needs to be more inclusive than just solar money can make it, in order to make the change that this nation and the world needs. Even private citizens should join. There are far more of us than of them.

Image: Google Mapped Prop 23 funding
Susan Kraemer@Twitter

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3 thoughts on “SEIA Pushes for Far More Powerful Lobby Against Fossil Industry

  • Susan- I agree with your strategic assessment that “team solar” needs to look outside of its little circle to build a coalition with anywhere near the influence (and resources) the fossil fuel industry has mustered.

    I’d like to see a concerted effort from SEIA, AWEA, the Geothermal Energy Association, environmental organizations, labor groups, electrical contractors, hardware manufacturers, etc. to bring more awareness about renewable energy to the public and more pressure in support of it to Capitol Hill.

  • Prop 23 is a “pain in the neck.” There is no connection, whatsoever, between greenhouse gas emission reduction and the loss of jobs. This notion is an insult to the intelligence of the people of California. In fact, there is job growth in the clean, renewable energy industry. Chevron employs 65,000 worldwide and CJI is not going to change this. The only jobs created by the oil industry are clean-up jobs after oil spills and deep water, blow-outs and pump-handler jobs. CJI will make fantastic profits for the oil industry, increase air pollution, especially in communities around their refineries and their will not be lower gas price. Koch Industries, Valero and Tesoro are super Enrons. Since when did the oil companies start to show an concern for the unemployed and their families and for consumers. BP, Chevron, Occidental, Exxon Mobil and Shell are silent partners in CJI.

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