Harry Reid’s home state dealt a lethal blow Tuesday to rooftop solar power — the latest skirmish of a nationwide green energy battle that has pitted the Senate Democratic leader against his favorite target, the Koch brothers.
The move by Nevada’s utility regulator, which voted to slash the economic incentives for homeowners to install solar panels, was most immediately a showdown between billionaires Warren Buffett, owner of the state’s largest power company, and Elon Musk, whose SolarCity is the nation’s largest installer of panels that create electricity from the sun. But it also served as a proxy fight in a national struggle about states’ green energy programs, in which free-market groups backed by industrialists Charles and David Koch have fought to roll back incentives that they argue distort the marketplace and force some customers to subsidize other people’s power choices.
The Kochs’ advocacy groups didn’t directly enter the fight in Nevada, although they have campaigned in states such as neighboring Arizona to cut back programs that allow solar-owning residents to sell their excess power back to the electric grid. And Reid has singled out the Kochs’ opposition to solar incentives as part of his litany of complaints about the billionaire brothers, whom he has accused of “trying to buy the country” to promote their pro-fossil-fuel, anti-regulation agenda.
Continue reading: Solar blowback hits Reid’s Nevada
Commentary by The Secular Jurist: The intransigence of fossil fuel interests must not be underestimated. Despite worldwide consensus on the immediate need to transform the global economy towards clean/renewable energy sources, these forces are determined to slow down or stop that process and they have a lot of political power to do so. This move by Nevada is a setback, because that sun-drenched state is a huge potential reservoir of solar energy. It also illustrates the great failure of the Paris Climate Summit (COP21) in not making its international agreement legally binding.