Two Big Energy Industry Groups Dump ALEC After Attacks on Green Jobs

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) are cutting ties with the corporate-backed conservative American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

Yeah, we know, a lot of acronyms. But it’s still good news.

We’ve written about ALEC before: it’s a technically “nonprofit” organization that brings right-wing think tanks, corporate lobbyists, and state legislators together to produce model bills that can be introduced around the country. You may recognize some of their greatest hits: the “Show Your Papers” draconian immigration law in Arizona, Florida’s now notorious “Stand Your Ground” gun law, and Michigan’s “cyber schools” law that uses public school funds to pay for privately-run online classrooms.

The AWEA and SEIA joined ALEC last year, wanting a “seat at the table” as the organization developed energy legislation, according to AWEA spokesman Peter Kelley. But ALEC – who says it focuses on all “free market”¬†legislation, but also counts Exxon Mobil, Duke Energy, Peabody, and Koch Industries as members – soon showed itself to be hostile to renewable energy, even when there was money to be made.

The straw that broke the camel’s back came in October, when ALEC adopted a model bill called the “Electricity Freedom Act,” which would end requirements that utilities generate a certain amount of electricity from renewables. These laws also called “renewable energy mandates” or “renewable portfolio standards (RPS).”

“There are 29 states that have renewable portfolio standards, and it’s my understanding that ALEC is targeting each one,” said Bill Gupton of Consumers Against Rate Hikes.

AWEA spokesman Kelley said that they were taken aback by ALEC’s association with conservative think tanks like the climate-skeptical¬†Heartland Institute, which helped draft the RPS repeal bills.¬†”We want to warn our former fellow members of ALEC about that misinformation because we won’t be around to protect them,” said Kelley.

One such bill is in North Carolina, where ALEC member Rep. Mike Hager (R-Rutherford) is introducing a repeal of that state’s renewable energy mandate. According to “North Carolina currently requires utilities to procure 12 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2021.”

We’re glad to see these industry associations get up and leave ALEC, because ALEC isn’t about the “free market” as they say. It’s about a small number of people having great power over all of us, and our ability to get energy from multiple sources just isn’t part of their plan.