It has always baffled me as to why the renewable energy industry has never really pushed back on the fossil fuel sector's major lobby and misinformation efforts; but by the looks of a speech to be delivered tomorrow by the head of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the gloves are finally coming off.
In an advanced copy of his speech (obtained by yours truly) to be given tomorrow morning to the Solar Power International Conference in Anaheim, California, the CEO and President of the SEIA, Rhone Resch will call for a "solar bill of rights."
All we seek is the freedom to compete, and all consumers want is the freedom to choose their energy source. Instead, the full promise of solar power is being restrained by the tyranny of policies that protect our competitors, subsidize wealthy polluters and disadvantage green entrepreneurs.
And Americans know better than anyone else in the world that there’s only one way to overcome tyranny—by declaring our rights and fighting for them with a united and determined voice.
That is why, today, SEIA is asking you to enlist in the fight to secure a policy environment that allows solar to compete and empowers consumers to choose.
So let’s make today solar’s Fourth of July —the day we declare our independence from policies that prevent greater use of solar energy which Americans so urgently need.
Today, we’re declaring a Solar Bill of Rights.
The clean energy sector fights an unfair battle against the artificially cheap electricity produced from dirty fuels like coal. A recent report by the Environmental Law Institute found that the fossil fuel sector receives about $70 billion from taxpayers in the form of subsidies every year, the renewable sector gets only about $12 billion.
Next time you hear a coal executive or one of his lobbyists tell you that coal is cheap and solar remains too expensive, remember that renewables have been forced to compete on an unfair playing field. One of the reasons for this unfair playing field has been that the clean energy sector has never been too good at playing hardball, while the coal and oil companies can play Congress with their eyes closed.
It's good to see Resch and the SEIA stepping up to the plate because as Resch will rightly tell the crowd tomorrow, "The solar industry differs from our competitors not in status but in substance. We are an industry in ascent; they are sectors in decline. Our source is clean and limitless; theirs are toxic and scarce."