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.