The Renewable Energy Train continues to board former skeptics

I have written before the renewable energy train has left the station. The current White House incumbent’s position on climate change and promoting more fossil fuel development, can slow the train, but he cannot stop the market forces that are driving it down the track.

A newspaper story reprinted today supports this thesis and illustrates how more unlikely folks are getting on board the train. An editorial from the Fayetteville (NC) Observer entitled “Solar turning a corner in NC?” noted the opening of the largest solar farm east of the Mississippi. But, a new solar farm in NC is not news, as NC trails only California in solar energy.

What I found newsworthy beyond the size is the attendance at the grand opening of at least two Republican politicians – US Representstive Robert Pittenger and State Senator John Szoka. Szoka had spearheaded a renewable energy support bill, which is ironic since he was a previous skeptic. He noted “What changed my opinion is facts. Facilities like this are drawing down the cost of energy.”

But, these folks are not alone. There are groups like Conservatives for Clean Energy that are helping to propel the train. There is the work in several red states that have developed wind energy into a sizable part of their energy portfolio. These plain states like Texas, Iowa, Oklahoma, e.g. are investing heavily in this increasingly cheaper source, with Iowa getting 1/3 of its electricity from wind energy.

I highlight the Conservatives who are jumping on the train, as unfortunately, climate change and renewable energy have been made a political issue. The people who have made it so are the fossil fuel companies who continue to wield their powerful influence to garner more profits. The White House incumbent and his cabinet are perpetuating this influence, but fortunately they are on the wrong side of the tracks and market forces and other political, business and citizen leaders are moving the train forward.

21 thoughts on “The Renewable Energy Train continues to board former skeptics

    • Colette, I agree. I pictured a conservative reader of this article getting to that quote from the state senator and having a little cognitive dissonance. The facts and real stories continue to get heard, in spite of efforts to the squelch them. Many thanks for stopping by. Keith

      • My pleasure Keith. You post some very informative stuff. While American issues don’t immediately affect me personally, I do like to have a rudimentary grasp of what is happening in the big wide world. Anything of an environmental nature of course affects us all!

      • Absolutely on the environmental impact. I was watching a news piece on how water management folks from The Netherlands are teaching others about battling and preventing damage from rising sea levels – they are here helping Miami and New York City. We are on this planet together. Thanks for your perspective and insight.

  1. Note to Readers: I should have included former US Congressman Bob Inglis, a SC Republican who is carrying the banner forward on the climate change fight. A previous skeptic, he investigated the impact of climate change at a key source flying to Antarctica and seeing the measured findings. Unfortunately, when speaking of climate change, his fossil fuel funded opponent defeated him in the next election. Since that time, like Al Gore, he has been a tireless spokesman on the need to fight climate change. He is the current executive directs for Republicen.org who is heavily involved in the climate change fight.

  2. Sierra Magazine reports that in March 10% of the energy in this country was from renewables. This contrasts with the UK where more than 50% of their needs are supplied by renewables. Still, the train may be slow but it is moving — and gaining momentum (despite the intransigence of Congress and their “leader”)

    • Hugh, we are behind others overall, but the train is moving. I don’t know if you saw that three nuclear developments have been shuttered due to costs. Renewables are far cheaper to build. It should be noted that Duke Energy is asking for a 16% rate hike to pay for coal ash clean up. The true cost of coal continues well beyond the electricity it creates. Keith

  3. Dear Keith,

    It is great to hear about a train going in the right direction regarding the US getting on board the renewable energy train, as we leave the naysayers behind.

    It would be great to focus wind energy farms or solar energy farms in areas that had invested too heavily in mining for coal.

    Hugs, Gronda

    • Gronda, indeed it would be great to see. You reminded of a tidbit from a blog a couple of months ago that noted the Kentucky Museum of Coal is powered by solar energy. Keith

  4. We want Conservatives to be on that train. In fact, I long for an end to the irrationals left/right dichotomy; it’s a plague on our nation. It is not ‘liberal’ to want to preserve our planet and it is not ‘conservative’ to feel a sense of duty to our country.

    • Rob, you said it quite well. I wish more politicians would stand up and say this. And, just as importantly stand up to those who say the opposite. Thanks, Keith

      • I saw an article where Kasich, a Republican, and Hickenlooper, a Democrat, are considering running as a ticket in 2020. Both have been good governors.

      • I’d vote for a bi-partisan ticket but the platform would have to be bi-partisan as well. Democrats are cursed with a big tent. The ‘whatever they really ares’ who call themselves republicans like to tar dems as leftists but there are democrats who are almost as conservative as Reagan republicans.

      • I agree. The Dems who are pushing for a more left agenda need to remember that the two most successful presidents since 1992 have been more moderate Dems. My recommendation is for them to stake their legitimate position as the party of job creation. If they match that with healthcare and environment, those are powerful statements which the GOP struggle with.

      • I think the people who have the most at stake in the outcome of this struggle are the Millennials and their children. In this regard, the Millennials are smart to re-examine regulated capitalism. Bernie Sanders sells a repackaged version of the New Deal. I also like the idea of healthcare as a right. There is no reason for so many people to suffer when we can produce enough wealth to improve the lives of billions of world’s people.

        Surely, we have enough money in the United States to house our sick and disabled.

        Trump is selling nonsense to people who have decided to forfeit the only thing about us that makes us human: our ability to use reason.

      • Rob, I agree millennials, their children and grandchildren have the most to lose, but we all are bearing the brunt of poor decisions and policies. Healthcare is a right in my view. We have a President who is trying to sabatoge the imperfect ACA rather than help make it better. His ego has shown time and again that he cares only about his image, with helping people lower on the list.

        The biggest long term concerns are the environment and debt. This President attacks the former and ignores the latter with his tax plan. These are two issues millennials need to be very concerned about.

        As for the regulated capitalism, which is what we have, there is a push to deregulate it even more. We need governors on capitalism in place as there must be protections and investment in that help the greater good. We do have social insurance programs that need to be shored up, not eliminated.

        Good comment. Keith

      • I have no interest in suffering from Trump’s hatred for people who aren’t trump.
        If we survive trump we must make sure the corrupt systems that made him possible are extinguished.
        That means no more mega rich predators buying up the press to poison our politics with lies.
        It means regulating the media to prevent a nation like Russia from using our freedoms to subvert democracy.

      • Rob, I agree. Rome survived it’s bad leaders, but it is imperative that our institutions continue, including that fourth estate of the media. Keith

      • I agree. And we have to strengthen our educational system so that people learn to read our history and our constitution for themselves.

        The worst thing about this episode of ignorance is the people who are angriest aren’t reading or thinking for themselves.

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