Source: How the Tea Party is learning to love Al Gore— or at least his energy policy, by Brian Dumaine, Fortune, April 14, 2016.
Extended Quote: from Debby Dooley, one of the 22 organizers of the first nationwide Tea Party protest in 2009 and the co-founder of the group’s Atlanta branch:
“I’m trying to put conservation back in the Republican Party. I believe in free-market energy. I don’t believe government should be picking winners and losers in the market place. I want consumer choice and clean air and clean water and solar is the best way to create a competitive choice.”
Notes: To sum up this Fortune article:
The writer, Brian Dumaine, has covered the environment for more than a decade. He was shocked encountering the strange bedfellows, Al Gore and Tea Party member Debby Dooley, at “The Future of Energy Summit 2015,” a conference run by Bloomberg New Energy Finance that’s taking place in New York City in April 2015.
The keynoter was Al Gore—no surprise. The former U.S. Vice President gave optimistic examples of places choosing clean energy over dirty fossil fuels. Canada, China, and California are implementing carbon cap-and-trade systems. Leaders in the developing world are getting savvy about solar, such as Kenya it costs only $200 to hook up a home to solar power compared to $4,000 for the traditional power grid.
Yes, Al, but we all still know conservatives trying to block anything having to do with climate change. Not necessarily. Meet Debby Dooley of the Tea Party, the immediate speaker after Al Gore. Dumaine had heard rumblings that some Tea Party members were getting behind solar, but he was stunned at the extent of Dooley’s passion and fight.
Dooley’s belief in the free market led her to this startling political conclusion: the Tea Party, arguably the most conservative branch of the Republican party, should love solar power—once the ideal energy of tree huggers and radical environmentalists.
Dooley waged a successful campaign to make Georgia Power add more solar to its portfolio. Even though Georgia Power fought her vigorously, it recently installed a solar farm that generates electricity at 6.5 cents a kilowatt-hour without subsidies, which is below the national average.
Dooley does not use the term climate change. However, she takes shots at the conservative Koch brothers. Debbie says they use their wealth from fossil fuels to support government-granted utility monopolies. She thinks promoting decentralized solar energy is also a national security issue (a favorite topic of Tea Party folks). “Our centralized power grid is open to terrorist attacks,” she told the crowd.
Her rallying cry? “Solar equals independence and freedom!”
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