Reality Check: Even Solar, Wind Companies Blast Green New Deal For Not Operating in 'Political Reality'

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Posted: Mar 22, 2019 7:30 AM
Reality Check: Even Solar, Wind Companies Blast Green New Deal For Not Operating in 'Political Reality'

Source: AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez may have backing for her Green New Deal from fellow progressive politicians but if the widespread criticism she’s received hasn’t been telling enough for her, perhaps the renewable energy sector’s dismissal of it will be. 

Representatives from solar and wind companies lauded the “enthusiasm” behind the GND but called it out for being completely unrealistic and too politically divisive, according to a Reuters report.

Here’s a sampling of the quotes in the report:

“If you just broadly endorse the Green New Deal, you are liable to upset one side of the aisle or the other. And that’s not constructive,” said Tom Werner, the CEO of SunPower Corp, one of the nation’s biggest solar power companies.

“The idea that you could go 100 percent (clean energy) in 10 years would require a lot of things happening perfectly, simultaneously,” he said. “You’d have to have bipartisan support, 52-state support.”

[…]

“We love the enthusiasm the Green New Deal has brought to the climate issue ... but we need to operate in political reality,” said Dan Whitten, vice president of public affairs at the Solar Energy Industries Association, the solar industry’s main lobby group. […]

“We have raised these industries above science experiments and feel-goodery, and we are now real businesses and can’t just play to one half of the country,” said one renewable sector lobbyist, who asked not to be named discussing the topic.

“Staying out of the line of fire is the goal of most companies and trade associations,” said another clean energy industry representative. “There will be a real danger for our industry and companies if they are shouting out about the Green New Deal from the rooftops.” […]

“We’ve met with companies and industries who could have a lot to gain from the Green New Deal, but the politics at this stage are too difficult to navigate,” Sunrise co-founder Evan Weber said. (Reuters)

The report notes that with better technology that enabled renewable energy businesses to lower prices, wind and solar companies are expanding their growth from blue, coastal states into the red heartland. They simply cannot afford to risk losing a growing base of clients. 

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Ocasio-Cortez introduced the resolution last month along with Democratic Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts. Promising a “massive transformation of our society,” some of the resolution’s goals include retrofitting every building in America to be energy efficient, eliminating air travel, cars, and fossil fuel and nuclear energy, as well as guaranteeing jobs.