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Win some, lose some — Fossil fuel industry spent big in 2018 midterms to beat clean energy in states where it mattered most

Midterm elections can be a mixed bag. There are a lot of competing interests, with seats up for grabs and power shuffling from the left to the right or vise versa.

2018 was no different, but when it came to ballot measures supporting initiatives for clean energy, there were clear instances where utilities and big oil companies outspent their rivals and won.

The news doesn’t bode well for the future well-being and health of our fragile little planet, however not all hope is lost.

State specific incentives in areas such as Massachusetts and Rhode Island, which can help residents payback a 5 kW solar system in just 4 years, and incentives in New Jersey, New York, Washington D.C., California, Oregon, Connecticut, New Hampshire and South Carolina, which can help residents payback a solar system in less than 10 years, continue to remain in effect pushing the mass adoption of clean energy.

LOSERS

WASHINGTON

Big oil companies from outside the state spend $31.5 million to campaign against Washington’s carbon tax, and won.

Big oil companies from outside the state spend $31.5 million to campaign against Washington’s carbon tax, and won.

Washington’s second attempt at a carbon tax has failed. Initiative 1631, which would have helped fund investments in clean environmental projects with a rising fee on carbon initiatives was slapped down by a 56% “no” vote, mostly from rural and suburban parts of the state.

Perhaps it’s not so much that the majority of Washington residents don’t love their nature as it is they were swayed by the $31.5 million “No on 1631” campaign funding that came from oil companies outside the state.

 

ARIZONA

Arizona's public utility company spent nearly $22 million on ads to sway residents from supporting renewables.

Arizona’s public utility company spent nearly $22 million on ads to sway residents from supporting renewables.

Prop 127, which would have required Arizona utilities to get 50 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2050 was shut down by a resounding 70% vote “No!”

Some proponents of the mandate have pointed to the biased ballot language written by the utility-friendly secretary of state for being one of the reasons the measure was so soundly defeated, while others believe it was the fact that the Arizona Public Service Co. spent nearly $22 million on ads (making it the most expensive ballot initiative in the state’s history) scaring consumers into believing the change would raise utility costs.

One way to have avoided the scare tactics of such companies and broken free of their chokehold would have been to convert your home to solar, which is a trend many state residents are beginning to adopt. Who knows, perhaps in a few years more time, rising utility costs won’t be as much as concern to the majority of the population as more people switch to making their home’s energy needs more self reliant?

 

COLORADO

Frack. You too Colorado!? Prop 112, which would have required oil and gas wells to remain 2,500 feet from any occupied building, such as schools, hospitals, or homes, failed to pass. It wasn’t so much that people in Colorado like sniffing gas fumes as it was that utility companies spent $41 million rallying against the bill, while proponents didn’t even manage to raise 1 million.

 

WINNERS

CALIFORNIA

Californian’s made their voice heard loud and clear when they rejected Proposition 6, which attempted to repeal the state’s recent gas tax that was ratified in 2018 to raise funds for transportation infrastructure maintenance and repair.

The vote should come as no surprise as California remains the leading state for solar power in America with 21,074  MW generated in 2018, while it’s next nearest competitor, North Carolina, only generated 4,308 MW.

 

NEVADA

Nevada is on track to get 50% of its energy from renewables by 2030 after passing Question 6

Nevada is on track to get 50% of its energy from renewables by 2030 after passing Question 6

In a state that’s renown for betting, Nevada has been placing big bets on solar. The state’s biggest city and consumer of energy, Las Vegas already gets 100 percent of its power from renewables, not to mention it’s also where tech giant Elon Musk chose to build his impressive gigafactory.

In yet another win for solar in the state, residents approved Question 6, imposing a 50% renewable energy mandate on utility companies operating by 2030.

You can make a side bet that the ripples of this decision will be felt throughout the home solar industry in the months to come as the centralized energy companies will aim to take on the state’s generous solar incentives in an effort to maintain revenue.

 

FLORIDA

The sunshine state doubled down on its belief in the capability of renewables, with 69% voting in favor of Amendment 9, banning offshore drilling.

 

OREGON

Oregon residents voted for a 1% surcharge tax on large retailers to pay for clean energy projects and job training, when they passed Measure 26-201 by 64%.The measure plans to add funding to the city’s adopted Climate Action Plan, which aims to power 100% of the community’s electricity needs by 2035.

 

To discover how the recent elections might have affected home solar in your area and if your location is a good candidate to switch to solar power, contact the experts at Go Green Solar.

 

Author: Harold Tan

I believe clean, renewable energy is key to the evolution of society as a whole. Solar powers our planet, why not harness it to power humanity? Let's power our homes, our work, and our vehicles with solar energy. It begins with raising awareness and encouraging those around us to go green.

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