Some Georgia Tea-pubs embracing solar power

An Atlanta Tea Party group is beginning to question the reluctance of Georgia Power to expand its solar capabilities.

Renewable energy advocates and leaders of the Atlanta Tea Party are taking on utility giant Southern Co., and its subsidiary Georgia Power, over resisting the call to expand its development of solar energy.

As Debbie Dooley, co-founder of the Atlanta Tea Party explained in an interview with Climate Progress, the group’s interest in the debate is quite simple: ‘The free market has been one of the founding principles of the Tea Party since it began and a monopoly is not a free market.’

Electric consumers in Georgia are supplied by monopolies given in designated areas of the state by the Public Service Commission.

Currently, Georgia Power is under no PSC mandate to incorporate solar power. Too many clouds, Tom Fanning, CEO of Southern Co., the parent of Georgia Power, recently said. ‘It’s time is not here, but we’re looking at it.’ ….

‘We have to diversify our energy portfolio. We can no longer be dependent, and have all our eggs in one basket,’ said Debbie Dooley, state coordinator of Atlanta Tea Party Patriots.

It seems to go against conventional wisdom that Tea-pubs would support solar after the outcry of the Solyndra affair. Well, for one thing, Solyndra technologies depended on solar cells manufactured from copper. At the time of its failure, the copper market was sky high making the copper panels unaffordable. (Can you say “free market.) But, with silicon technologies becoming more efficient, the cost of silicon based panels have dropped 75% in the past 10 years.

Dooley is also planning to push legislation to break up current monopolies.

‘She plans to continue her efforts by pushing for upcoming legislation that would allow private companies to set up solar farms and feed their energy into Georgia Power’s grid, continuing to put pressure on Georgia Power for cost overruns at its Vogtle nuclear power plant, and possibly even challenging the law that grants monopoly rights to utilities.’

It’s kind of one of those “hell has just frozen over” things, I guess. I would love to see more solar so Georgia can reduce its dependence on the many coal firing plants around the state. If the Tea-pubs want to support solar power on a “free market” basis, well, I’ll be happy we got to the same place on two different roads.


2 thoughts on “Some Georgia Tea-pubs embracing solar power

  1. I don’t know about this. It sounds suspiciously like an attack on public utilities rather than any real love for solar power. As one who lives in a state where the regulated public utility providing electricity was legislatively done away with in favor of the private market I can tell you what the results of that change are: rates have gone through the roof. And how do we force private companies to invest in solar power? We can’t. We can force regulated public utilities to do so.
    Honestly, I hope I’m being overly cynical and you are right – but I don’t read the article that way. I see a love of private business being used to do away with regulated public utilities: not an effort to increase investment in solar power.

  2. Well if there’s one thing we know Republicans won’t propose some public good without some truly heinous other outcome, and you know like the sun comes up in the east that that’s the real goal of the program.

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