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Fissures in G.O.P. as Some Conservatives Embrace Renewable Energy
" ... In conservative politics, solar power is often dismissed as an affectation, part of a liberal agenda to funnel money to "solar cronies" of the Obama administration and further the "global warming hoax."
So one would not expect to see Barry Goldwater Jr., the very picture of modern conservatism and son of the 1964 Republican nominee for president, arguing passionately on behalf of solar energy customers. But there he was last fall, very publicly opposing a push by Arizona's biggest utility to charge as much as $100 a month to people who put solar panels on their roofs.
The utilities, backed by conservative business interests, argue that solar users who have lower power bills because of government subsidies are not paying their fair share to maintain the power grid. Mr. Goldwater and other advocates have struck back by calling the proposed fees a "solar tax," and have pushed their message in ads on Fox News and the Drudge Report.
Similar conflicts are going on in California and Colorado, with many more to come. And as the issue pops up, conservatives are even joining forces with environmental groups. In Georgia, a Tea Party activist and the Sierra Club formed a "Green Tea Coalition."
As a result, solar power is fast becoming one of the fracture lines dividing the conservative movement's corporate and libertarian sides. The American Legislative Exchange Council, known as ALEC, which helps pro-business Republicans across the country write legislation, has successfully urged several states to fight federal mandates for adopting renewable energy like solar power. This month, it published a resolution calling for states to "require that everyone who uses the grid helps pay to maintain it and to keep it operating reliably at all times." ... "
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