Solar power coming on strong
Associated Press

Oklahoma moves to discourage solar power

In the final installment of a multi-part report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change explained that the climate crisis is intensifying quickly, creating a critical situation. We’re approach a point of no return, requiring significant action over the next 15 years.
 
What kind of action? There’s no easy fix, but the IPCC was encouraged by new measures that can reduce emissions without drastic lifestyle changes, including sharp reductions in the costs of solar and wind power.
 
Just two days after the IPCC’s findings were made public, Oklahoma moved to make renewable energy more expensive, on purpose.
Utility customers who want to install rooftop solar panels or small wind turbines could face extra charges on their bills after legislation passed the Oklahoma House of Representatives on Monday.
 
Senate Bill 1456 passed 83-5 after no debate in the House. It passed the Senate last month and now heads to Gov. Mary Fallin for her approval.
 
The bill was supported by the state’s major electric utilities, but drew opposition from solar advocates, environmentalists and others. It sets up a process at the Oklahoma Corporation Commission to establish a separate customer class and monthly surcharge for distributed generation such as rooftop solar or small wind turbines.
Just so we’re clear, the climate crisis is getting worse; we’ll have to act quickly to prevent a catastrophe; the use of renewable energy is an important part of the solution; and Oklahoma is poised to discourage consumers from using energy technologies that reduce emissions.
 
Sigh.
 
Away from Oklahoma, however, the White House is moving today in a more progressive direction.
 
The Washington Post reported overnight that President Obama will today push the private sector to expand its use of solar power.
The new initiative comes as the White House is hosting a Solar Summit aimed at highlighting successful efforts on the local level to speed the deployment of solar energy.
 
Although some large solar plants are coming online and it is the fastest-growing source of renewable energy in the United States, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, it accounts for roughly 1 percent of the nation’s electricity generation.
 
“Now is the time for solar,” said Anya Schoolman, executive director of the Community Power Network, a Washington-based nonprofit group that helps communities build renewable energy projects. She will be honored at the summit Thursday.
 
“The costs are affordable, in reach of middle America and above. We know how to do it now, we know how to scale it, and we kind of just need people to let it go and encourage it,” she said.
Outside of Oklahoma, that is.
 

Global Warming, Oklahoma, Rachel Maddow Show Climate Change and Solar Power

Oklahoma moves to discourage solar power