Renewable Energy is Not Just for Liberals

More and more we are seeing evidence at both the federal and state level of strong nonpartisan support for renewable energy. The increasing benefits of renewable energy production are appealing to residents and businesses, as well as local and state governments across the United States as they see both economic and environmental benefits.

Particularly at the state level, we are seeing the continuing passage of renewable energy policy in order to create substantial incentives to increase renewable energy production through power generators like wind and solar. These are states ranging from the traditionally blue Massachusetts and Connecticut, to the traditionally red like Georgia and Texas.  The false implication that only liberals support renewable energy production is quickly being discredited as the facts emerge.

The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) has compiled an impressive list of proof points that make this case. Here are some of the interesting highlights from their list:

  • 75% of Americans support putting more emphasis on solar power, including 68% of Republicans. Likewise, 71% of Americans support placing more emphasis on wind energy. (Source: Gallup, March 2013, http://bit.ly/1jfIbZS)
  • 75% of America’s wind energy capacity is in Congressional districts held by Republicans. (Source: Red State Renewables Alliance, December 2013,http://bit.ly/IQfrXh)
  • 73% of all congressional representatives have operational wind energy projects, wind manufacturing facilities, or both. On top of that, “nine of the top 10 Congressional districts with the most installed wind capacity are held by Republicans.” (Source: American Wind Energy Association, July 2013, http://bit.ly/JAcIBY)
  • The co-founder of the Atlanta Tea Party, Debby Dooley, created the “Green Tea Coalition,” a free-market based advocate for renewable energy in Georgia that successfully convinced one of the state’s largest utilities, Georgia Power, to purchase more solar power. (Source: The Daily Beast, September 2013,http://thebea.st/1d89H45)
  • In traditionally conservative North Carolina, Republican Governor Pat McCrory recently noted that the state is “home to one of the fastest growing solar industries in our nation” and praised the strong job growth, declaring June to be “Solar Energy Month.” (Source: N.C. State University, June 2013, http://bit.ly/1fzcOo8)
  • In his 2011 State of the State address the Republican Governor of Kansas, Sam Brownback, said that he wants Kansas “to be known not only as the Wheat State – but as the Renewable State.” Brownback has a 93 percent lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union.(Source: Kansas Office of the Governor, January 2011,http://bit.ly/IFBkZd)
  • Texas leads the U.S. in wind energy generation capacity. The state has voted for the Republican candidate in every Presidential election since 1980. (Source: Office of the Texas Comptroller,http://bit.ly/1bLwzHr)
  • According to a recent report, Texas will be able to draw 40% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2035.(Source: Longview News-Journal, December 2013,http://bit.ly/1jNcrZW)

Source: http://www.energyfactcheck.org/slideshow/only-liberals-support-renewable-energy

This increasing trend is encouraging for renewable energy as well as our economy and national security as we look to become more and more energy independent. In a partisan Congress, often in gridlock over divisive political issues, these statistics provide hope that we are finding common ground beyond politics to support the growth of the renewable energy industry.

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Lee Peterson is a licensed attorney and Senior Tax Manager for CohnReznick’s National Renewable Energy Practice. To date, Lee has been a critical tax advisor in over 10 billion dollars of renewable energy projects within the U.S. and its’ territories. He is responsible for thought-leadership and governmental affairs and his clients include the U.S. Department of Energy, Fortune 100 companies, state and local governments and domestic and foreign renewable energy project developers and manufacturers. Lee also advises the nation’s top financial institutions regarding their tax equity investment structures. Lee has published numerous articles in both the traditional and trade press, including, North American Windpower and Solar Industry magazine and he is regularly quoted in the media. Lee is also the author of numerous white papers on a wide range of critical renewable energy finance and tax topics and is a regular speaker at national professional education and industry events dealing with renewable energy policy, tax credit finance and federal and state tax policy. Lee volunteers hundreds of hours, pro bono, assisting non-profit renewable energy organizations, federal and state legislators as they seek to improve and implement new energy policies. For 10 years, Lee was an adjunct professor at Clayton State University and is a guest lecturer for the J. Mack Robinson MBA program at Georgia State University. Lee has also served as instructor for the State Bar of Georgia continuing legal education seminars.

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