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Published on May 7th, 2016 | by Zachary Shahan


Jay Faison Is On The Court But Throws An Air Ball

May 7th, 2016 by  

A few months ago, we wrote about Republican millionaire Jay Faison’s apparent attempt to bring some sanity to Republican politics and push for solutions to global warming. It’s nice to see another person in the party has woken up to the threat of global warming enough that he is trying to jolt his colleagues out of complacency and make this a bipartisan issue within the halls of Congress and government offices — not just among the voting public, where’s it’s long been a clear issue of bipartisan support. Don’t believe me? Here’s a recent finding out of Texas:

“85 percent of Texas voters – including 78 percent of Republicans – favor increasing the use of clean energy to generate electricity in Texas.”

texas solar energy Image Credit: SEIA via Facebook

Unfortunately, as we discovered in February, Jay and/or his trusted advisors are off their North Carolina rockers a bit. (You know, they actually have the popular Southern-style rocking chairs across the Charlotte airport.) From the February article: “As readers have pointed out, ClearPath’s 4 pillars of ‘conservative clean energy’ are: (1) Clean coal and Gas, (2) Nuclear, (3) Hydropower, (4) Innovation.”

This is so backwards that I’m tempted to not even mess with explaining why. Can anyone seriously think this is the way to go to stop global warming? The cynic in me says that Jay and team don’t actually care about global warming and are just shifting the discourse in this way because they know they’ve lost on the denial front.

But I’ll be the eternal optimist I am and assume that Jay is genuinely trying to hit the basket but embarrassingly threw up an airball based on outdated information or a lack of expertise in this arena.

The situation is, “clean coal” has long been identified as a mixture of a sham and one of the most expensive ways to fight global warming. You can typically build a new solar or wind farm to replace an old coal power plant for cheaper than making that coal plant cleaner. And if we’re talking about new coal power plants, that makes zero sense, since new coal power plants are much more expensive than new solar or wind. Furthermore, there’s really no such thing as clean coal, for a bunch of reasons.

Natural gas has a whole host of its own problems, including a methane leakage problem that may make natural gas even worse than coal.

Nuclear power is simply a joke, for financial reasons alone. Wind and solar are far cheaper than nuclear.

Lazard Solar Wind LCOE 2


Small hydropower is a great idea, and we should be doing more of it, but based on items #1 and #2 on ClearPath’s priority list, I’m not hopeful that’s what the team has in mind. In any case, it’s a minor player. The behemoths of the new energy economy should be solar and wind power.

Innovation is always good, but “innovation” in the energy and climate action space is often codespeak for “no deployment,” when what we really need to be focusing on right now is deployment. No more breakthroughs are needed to put wind and solar at extremely low prices like 2.5 cents and 3 cents per kilowatt-hour — numbers that outcompete nuclear and fossils even if you let nuclear and fossils keep their massive subsidies.

I don’t know Jay well, but I’m going to hope and assume that he’s a thoughtful guy who is eager to keep learning. I hope that, with a little more research, and perhaps a swap of the advisor team (which could very likely be too tied to the fossil and nuke industries), he will shift his climate action agenda to focus on the most practical, lowest-cost, quickest options in the energy industry for stopping global warming…. Oh yeah, and the ones that create the most jobs! (Over 3 times more jobs per $1 invested!)

I think Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton get all of this, but Jay somehow thinks ClearPath’s agenda is more realistic than Hillary’s…. Say what? Here’s a recent press statement from Jay: “Mr. Trump’s presumptive nomination shows that voters are tired of the same old politics and want a fresh approach. A conservative clean energy platform should be part of that fresh Republican platform. As Mr. Trump builds out his policy team and agenda, we look forward to sharing an alternative to Hillary’s unrealistic clean energy plan. Meanwhile our focus will remain at the Congressional level.” (And you have to love that he wrote “Mr. Trump” but then “Hillary.”)

No, Jay, Hillary’s clean energy plan is very realistic, if we actually try and Republicans in Congress don’t block every attempt to make our world healthier and safer because of their long and deep ties to deadly industries. In fact, Hillary’s agenda could be more ambitious, which is something those of us who focus on this industry are actively pushing for, and I think we could easily improve if you could get your colleagues at the head of politics to work for a cleaner, safer, more prosperous, and more secure world for Americans, as well as other human beings and species around the world.


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About the Author

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession and Solar Love. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, and Canada. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in. But he offers no professional investment advice and would rather not be responsible for you losing money, so don't jump to conclusions.

  • GeorgeMokray

    Bob Inglis, one Repug who has thought long and hard about climate change and energy, was on Chris Hayes’ show last night (May 6) and was quite emphatic about not voting for Donnie J. I wonder if Inglis knows Faison and could advise him on “free market solutions” to climate change and energy infrastructure.

  • AaronD12

    This is the level of misinformation they’re spreading:


    When people start realizing they’re being lied to, they’re going to start to revolt. The mine in the picture is a COPPER mine, not a lithium mine, and the Canadian tar sands look nothing like the picture. That’s a fracking well, which has its own issues, hidden from the surface.

  • J.H.

    It is just more Smoke and Mirrors. There appears to be a movement with the voters with in the Republican Party. As the smoke clears, the party is left with angry members that are fed up with the “slick spin” and are know longer willing to listen and be spoon fed lies. Even the people from Texas are getting it. For lobbyist and politicians with in their party, its business as usual. They realize the people want renewables. But rather than embracing new technology with the people. They are still spoon feeding the same old carp and miss information. As we watch the party disintegrate may be the politicians and lobbyist are be coming dizzy and will fall in to the black hole they have created. Could the “Fossil Revolt” even be happening in Texas?

  • This was exactly the case at ACT. The majority of the conference was focused on LNG, NG, Propane and FCEVs with only a fraction of the total expo dedicated to EVs. Capitalism…

    • Hmm, wow. That’s disappointing, but explains why it’s typically off the radar of EV sites.

      • Yup. Either way, we scored some great stuff at the show. It’s obvious that the shift towards EVs is coming in…which is fantastic to see.

        • Frank

          King Arthur: Go and tell your master that we have been charged by God with a sacred quest. If he will give us food and shelter for the night, he can join us in our quest for the Holy Grail.
          French Soldier: Well, I’ll ask him, but I don’t think he will be very keen. Uh, he’s already got one, you see.
          King Arthur: What?
          Sir Galahad: He said they’ve already got one!
          King Arthur: Are you sure he’s got one?
          French Soldier: Oh yes, it’s very nice

  • Matt

    While I agree that wind/solar will be the main legs of the US conversion. I do think hydro could play a much large role that you have implied or that it likely will. We have a large number of unpowered damns that could be converted, plus the run of river option is massive in the US.

    • Mike Dill

      Hydro and Geothermal can be used as dispatchable resources for those times when the wind does not blow and the sun does not shine. Concentrated solar and storage can also adsorb excess power for later use. All of these clean options should be explored.

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