Opinion Columns & Blogs

One group of Ga. conversatives is making clean, renewable energy a focus

On Thursday afternoon, the Conservatives for Clean Energy Georgia chapter came to LaGrange College in west Georgia, featuring several politicians. They talked about the future of the state, the Republican Party, the country and potentially the planet.

Wat. Conservatives for clean energy? What gives?

Georgia may be as politically red as the University of Georgia uniforms, but when it comes to alternative energy, it’s like they found the gold of Georgia Tech’s helmets. “Georgia currently ranks 7th in the nation in solar capacity and added more solar jobs than any other state in the U.S. in 2017,” write the Conservatives for Clean Energy Georgia Chapter. “During 2017, clean energy industries created more than 4,000 new jobs in Georgia. There are over 250 solar companies located here with more on the way.” And that’ll benefit the urban and rural areas within the state (with a total of 43,000 jobs in the clean energy industry), giving the economy the juice it needs to compete on the global market.

You can see this on display at the Georgia/Alabama border at the solar-powered welcome station, in addition to acres of panels across the Peach State. “In the last five years, Georgia’s solar residential usage has increased from 116 homes to over 175,000 homes, while seeing dramatically decreasing costs, dropping from 13 cents per kilo-watt hour to four cents during that same time period … (leading to a) 1,500% increase in solar residential usage.”

Well liberals and moderates can see the benefits of these. But would conservatives?

A Monmouth poll shows that 64% of Republicans believe that climate change is real, up nearly 20 percentage points in just the last three years. An Associated Press poll found nearly 75% of Americans are influenced by the severe weather they experience, showing that propaganda claiming that climate change is a “Chinese hoax” isn’t working. The previous five years have been the hottest five years on record, while July 2019 was the hottest month in history, indicating that 2019 could make it six of six in hottest years ever.

Moreover, a majority of Americans recognize that humans are generating this in a survey by AP-NORC. Clearly, our energy policy needs to change, and taxpayer subsidies for outdated sources are getting less popular. Already, Conservative Rep. Francis Rooney, R-Fla., his introduced the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act of 2019, which “imposes a fee on the carbon content of fuels, including crude oil, natural gas, coal, or any other product derived from those fuels that will be used so as to emit greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.” It also imposes a penalty on companies that shift operations abroad in order to pollute.

But can renewable energy sources carry the load? They already are. The U.S. Energy Information Administration admitted that electricity generation from renewable sources like solar, wind, hydropower, geothermal and biomass produced more electricity generation than coal.

John A. Tures is a professor of political science at LaGrange College in LaGrange. He can be reached at jtures@lagrange.edu. His Twitter account is JohnTures2.