Solar, once almost universally regarded as a virtuous, if perhaps over-hyped, energy alternative, has now grown big enough to have enemies.”
The Koch brothers, anti-tax activist Grover Norquist and some of the nation’s largest power companies have backed efforts in recent months to roll back state policies that favor green energy. The conservative luminaries have pushed campaigns in Kansas, North Carolina and Arizona, with the battle rapidly spreading to other states.
The power industry argues that net metering provides an unfair advantage to solar consumers, who don’t pay to maintain the power grid although they draw money from it and rely on it for backup on cloudy days. The more people produce their own electricity through solar, the fewer are left being billed for the transmission lines, substations and computer systems that make up the grid, industry officials say.
That’s the argument that worked in Oklahoma, which is why consumers who embrace renewables are facing new charges.
And there’s no reason to think Oklahoma will be the last – the American Legislative Exchange Council has already drafted model legislation on the issue, which is being touted by the Koch-financed Americans for Prosperity. Indeed, AFP has been especially aggressive in Kansas, hoping to eliminate the state policy that aims for 20% reliance on renewable energy sources.
To that end, AFP has begun equating green energy mandates with – what else? – the Affordable Care Act.