With just a quick look at the state of the national dialogue about renewable energy or climate change, you can’t help but come away with a clear split: Democrats and left-leaning politicians support the transition to a low-carbon economy, while Republicans and those on the right are vigorously supportive of the status quo.
You could back that argument up with any number of recent examples. For instance, a staffer for a Republican representative writing about climate change had to publish his or her award-winning paper pseudonymously to protect his or her job and employer.
But a new report from the Emily Tremaine Foundation details how that picture is out of whack with what is actually happening across America — and relegating half the political spectrum to the margins is not going to bring about the political and personal momentum we need to get solar power on every roof that can support it.
The report, “Powering Up America offers nine case studies of energy efficiency and clean energy adoption from South Carolina, Pennsylvania and Connecticut — a red state, a blue state and a purple state. Among the examples: South Carolina’s innovative law to finance home energy-efficiency improvements through on-bill financing, a Connecticut school district’s embrace of energy management tools, and a big solar farm at Crayola’s Easton, Penn., manufacturing facility.
Perhaps even more interesting than the examples of how to make policy work in favor of clean energy is the section detailing of “The Conservative Case for Clean Energy.” In seven points, the report spells out the reasons why everyone should be on board with renewable energy and energy efficiency incentives:
- Increasing energy productivity is cheap
- Efficiency investments PAY OFF
- Energy efficiency grows the economy
- Powering Up with clean, efficient energy protects health, saving lives and health care dollars
- Energy efficiency helps American families
- Smart energy strategies make power more reliable
- Minimizing waste while increasing clean energy enhances our national security
When you lay it out that simply — and with the facts and data to back it up — it’s hard to imagine anyone not on board with funding solar projects. And the more, and more widely, these practices are implemented, the easier, and cheaper, it will be for everyone to get solar. According to an infographic explaining how much solar costs created by One Block Off the Grid, the three states highlighted in this report are currently in the upper-middle level of costs, with South Carolina more than 20 percent higher than the national average. Perhaps if enough conservative politicians can embrace the policy underpinnings of this new report, everyone will benefit.