Koch Brothers, Conservatives & Oil Companies Lobby States Using Renewable Energy Sources: Alternative, Solar Power And Environmentalism Gaining Popularity
As more and more states are beginning to utilize solar energy and adapt to other clean green energy solutions, conservative lobby groups and oil tycoons have aggressively started pushing back against alternative energy.
The Koch brothers, anti-tax activist Grover Norquist and a number of powerful companies in the nation have started running campaign ads in Arizona, Kansas and North Carolina that paint renewable energy as a greedy bad guy, according to the Los Angeles Times.
With the help of solar power companies, environmentalists are battling back against big oil companies and their lobbyists over states that have implemented two types of energy policies: net metering and renewable energy requirements.
Net metering allows homeowners or businesses that have solar panels installed on roofs to sell back extra electricity to the power grid at attractive rates. The other policy requires utility companies to generate at least 10 percent of renewable energy, the Times reported.
The majority of states in the U.S. have begun operating under at least one of the two policies if not both. The only states to not use net metering or generate power from renewable energy are Alabama, Idaho, Mississippi and Tennessee.
South Dakota and Texas are the only two states without metering programs but generate a percentage of their power from renewable energy, according to the Times.
Edison Electric Institute Executive Vice President David Owens told the Times that net metering is unfair to those who do not have solar panels and are still required to pay to maintain the power grid while those with panels don't have to and actually earn money back.
The power industry fears that as more people install solar panels, less money is being paid to maintain transmission lines, substations and computer systems that many people rely on.
"If you are using the grid and benefiting from the grid, you should pay for it," Owens said. "If you don't, other customers have to absorb those costs."
Edison Electric Institute, an advocacy group for the power industry, warned power companies that renewable energy policies could irrevocably damage the industry. The institute issued a report that stated, "it may be too late to repair the utility business model" if electric companies do not take action.
Christine Harbin Hanson, a spokeswoman for Americans for Prosperity, the advocacy group funded by billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch, told the Times in an email that "state governments are starting to wake up" and challenge renewable energy polices.
"These green energy mandates are bad policy," Hanson said.