The dirty war on solar power

Way to go, Morocco! On February 4th, 2016, His Majesty Mohammed VI of Morocco flipped the switch on what will be the largest concentrated solar power plant in the world. Instead of using normal solar panels, this system utilizes concentrating solar power

This Rolling Stone story is really important, and I don’t say that often. The extent to which the for-profit utilities have stymied solar power is just astounding, and every voter in the country should read this:

The Sunshine State has the best solarity east of the Mississippi, and the third-best rooftop solar potential in America. Yet measured by solar production, it ranks just 16th in the nation. It’s dwarfed by solar giants like California. Florida even lags behind Northern states like New Jersey, Massachusetts and New York. “It defies logic,” says former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist. “It’s absolutely absurd.”

The solar industry in Florida has been boxed out by investor-owned utilities (IOUs) that reap massive profits from natural gas and coal. These IOUs wield outsize political power in the state capital of Tallahassee, and flex it to protect their absolute monopoly on electricity sales. “We live in the Stone Age in regard to renewable power,” says state Rep. Dwight Dudley, the ranking Democrat on the energy subcommittee in the Florida House. “The power companies hold sway here, and the consumers are at their mercy.”

The full political might of Florida’s IOUs was on display in December, when a deceptive campaign, funded by the state’s electric utilities, crushed a citizen-led effort to open Florida to solar competition through the 2016 ballot. “When your opponents have no ethical foundation, have unlimited resources and are willing to say and do anything to defeat you,” says Stephen Smith, director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, which led the pro-solar effort, “it’s a tough hurdle to overcome.”

I don’t know why I’m shocked. Maybe it’s because climate change is now an indisputable threat, yet the fossil fuel-dependent utility companies still push to increase their monopolies — and their profits — despite the human cost.

I’m sure at some point we’ll get federal mandates for solar passed, but until then, you should read this and arm yourself in the voting booth.

3 thoughts on “The dirty war on solar power

  1. Wall Street owns politicians and the political process.
    Any candidate running for president whose top 5 donors include 4 of Wall Street’s largest banks should be ashamed of themselves.
    Should it disqualify them? That’s up to the voters.
    But this might give voters further pause.
    20 of Hillary’s top donors, the Hillblazers, are Wall Street big wigs with large oil, gas and coal holdings.

  2. Here in SoCal, the utilities added another wrinkle to their crimes.

    Solar is good, right? So, here ya go, I gotcher solar right here. And they crapped out square miles of panels right on top of fields of California poppies. They couldn’t touch the Antelope Valley Preserve itself (as far as I know), but the adjoining ranchlands which used to be a rolling ocean of orange flowers as far as the eye could see is gone. Now there’s a few hills in the Preserve and a bunch of chopped up squares interspersed with industrial-looking ugliness.

    Because rooftop solar just isn’t good enough, you know.

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