The World's #1 Renewable Energy Network for News, Information, and Companies.

A Tribute to One of the Lions Who Helped Us Arrive Where We Are Today

On Sunday August 8, former Senator Mark Hatfield, an anti-war Republican from Oregon, died at age 89. In his 30 years in the Senate, Hatfield was not only one of the Senate chamber's most consistent voices against the war in Vietnam, but he was also an ardent advocate of environmental protection and renewable energy. In my nine years as a Senate aide in the 1970's, I got to know him well.

During the 1980’s when President Reagan was trying to zero out the renewable energy and efficiency programs at the Department of Energy, pull down The White House Solar panels (within six months of his election), and firing Denis Hayes as Director of the Solar Energy Research Institute (now called NREL), politics for the green industries were pretty dismal.

We were in a political freefall, and I expect, the U.S. would have lost almost all federal programs had it not been for the resolve from the Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Mark Hatfield. I remember a meeting in his Senate office after the federal programs for renewable energy received two years of excruciating cuts, over 70 percent.  I told him then that if we went below this dismal point, it really didn’t matter anymore - the U.S. program would be all but dead. He listened somberly, announced he would draw the line - and he did so. Not only were renewable programs salvaged but some even increased under his oversight.

Not only did he hold the line, but when President Bush (#1) was elected, the whole tenor changed. Bush senior supported these programs, working with Senator Hatfield to increase the U.S. energy efficiency and renewable energy research capacity. Bush also supported an Energy Bill that extended renewable energy tax credits, thereby setting the foundation of policy  tools and incentives we enjoy today.

 I read of the Senator’s passing with sadness, not only for the great actions he took on behalf of our industries, but the fact of what a genuinely good and caring person he was. This was a time when our leaders were actually leaders, not combatants. They took time to know each other, debate each other, socialize with each other -- actually bask in the soup of politics and ideas.

So I hope you all take a minute to wish one of our early supporters well. If I could bestow a purple heart for renewable energy, Mark Hatfield would surely be one of the recipients.

For the last eleven years, Scott Sklar has run The Stella Group, Ltd. is a strategic technology optimization and policy firm for clean distributed energy users and companies. Scott Sklar is Chair of the Steering Committee of the Sustainable Energy Coalition and serves on the (non-profit) Boards of Directors of, the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, and the Renewable Energy Policy Project, and The Solar Foundation. Sklar is an Adjunct Professor at the George Washington University teaching a unique multi-disciplinary sustainable energy course. On November 4, 2010 Secretary Locke approved Sklar’s appointment to the Department of Commerce Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Advisory Committee (RE&EEAC). He can be reached at solarsklar@aol.com.

 

RELATED ARTICLES

Renewable Energy Finance

Clean Energy ETFs Are on a Tear

Eric Balchunas, Bloomberg Green investing used to be synonymous with losing money. But while the S&P 500 Index is up 2 percent this year, and the MSCI All-Country World Index is up 5 percent, clean energy ETFs have double-digit re...

Wheels, Towers and Trees: Unconventional Renewable Energy Technologies in the Pipeline

Andrew Williams, International Correspondent A number of companies around the world are developing novel technologies in an effort to grab a slice of the global renewable energy market.  Although many of these technologies are simple incremental improvements to e...
UK Parliament Clean Energy Leaders

UK Government Names Clean Energy Cabinet Members

David Appleyard, Contributing Editor With the UK general election now over and a majority Conservative Party government in place, the re-elected Prime Minister David Cameron has now named key members of the government charged with steering the UK’s clean energ...
Microgrids

Coast to Coast and Across the Electric System, Microgrids Provide Benefits to All

Dick Munson, Environmental Defense Fund At the most obvious level, microgrids could disrupt today’s utilities and their regulated-monopoly business model, because they challenge the centralized paradigm. In a nutshell, microgrids are localized power grids that ha...
Scott, founder and president of The Stella Group, Ltd., in Washington, DC, is the Chair of the Steering Committee of the Sustainable Energy Coalition and serves on the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, and The Solar Foundation. The Stella G...

CURRENT MAGAZINE ISSUE

03/01/2015
Volume 18, Issue 3
file

STAY CONNECTED

To register for our free
e-Newsletters, subscribe today:

SOCIAL ACTIVITY

Tweet the Editors! @megcichon @jennrunyon

FEATURED PARTNERS



EVENTS

Doing Business in Brazil – in partnership with GWEC, the Global Win...

Brazil is one of the most promising markets for wind energy.  Ranke...

EU PVSEC 2015 (European PV Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition)

The EU PVSEC is the largest international Conference for Photovoltaic re...

Using Grid data analytics to protect revenue, reduce network losses...

Schneider Electric and Awesense have combined expertise to develop integ...

COMPANY BLOGS

EU PVSEC 2014: Call for Papers Receives Great Response

More than 1,500 contributions apply for presentation in AmsterdamScienti...

EU PVSEC 2014 extends its Scope

Added focus on application and policy topicsAbstracts for conference con...

Boulder County Residents Generate Their Own Energy with Community S...

Despite a soggy afternoon, solar energy advocates gathered at ...

NEWSLETTERS

Renewable Energy: Subscribe Now

Solar Energy: Subscribe Now

Wind Energy: Subscribe Now

Geothermal Energy: Subscribe Now

Bioenergy: Subscribe Now  

 

FEATURED PARTNERS