While one conservative group plans a rally against solar mandates, leaders of another group support using the alternative energy source.
Americans For Prosperity-Georgia, the local chapter of a premier grassroots organization for promoting economic freedom, will host a “Keep The Lights On In GA!” energy freedom press conference at 11 a.m. Thursday at the State Capitol to urge the Public Service Commission to “Vote no” on solar energy mandates at their meeting scheduled for later in the day.
“We are gathering to oppose renewable energy mandates in Georgia that have proven to raise electricity bills and reduce energy reliability in other states around the country,” said Joel Aaron, spokesman of the Georgia chapter. “The Public Service Commissioner has an opportunity to avoid a mandate that could needlessly hurt both rate payers and tax payers in Georgia. It’s time for Georgia to send a strong message that we are for energy freedom, not further government intrusion into the private sector such as the President’s recent declaration against cheap, reliable fossil fuels and the jobs they create.”
While Aaron said tea party leaders would join in the event, a couple of local tea party activists have said Americans for Prosperity is misleading its members.
Julianne Thompson, the Buford woman who is a leader of the Atlanta Tea Party Patriots, said that solar should be given a platform to compete against other energy sources so that competition can drive down rates.
“Solar can now compete head-to-head with coal and other fossil fuels,” Thompson said. “All we’re asking for is that the Georgia Public Service Commission consider all energy sources to help ratepayers long-term.”
Debbie Dooley, a Dacula woman who is the original co-founder of Tea Party movement, said that some special interests wanted to stop solar from free-market competition.
“There are lots of folks who are working in overdrive to support the monopoly’s efforts to quash solar,” Dooley said. “Apparently, they aren’t looking at the right numbers. Solar is now cost effective. I’m glad we waited in Georgia for the right time.”
Kay Godwin, leader of Georgia Conservatives in Action, said, she trusts the conservative members of the Public Service Commission. “The fact is, potentially four commissioners seem ready to give solar a chance if ratepayers benefit long-term from it and if it doesn’t increase our electricity bills,” Godwin said. “If solar companies can’t deliver, no more solar will happen.”
Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.
Camie Young can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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