Who would want to kill the solar market and what would the motive be behind this. Fair question considering the years of progress that the industry has made internationally. For years, billionaire David Koch joked that his company, Koch Industries, was one that nobody has ever heard of. But now everyone knows not only about the company he and his brother Charles own but also about the $67 million that the Koch Brothers have discreetly funneled to various climate change-denial and anti-renewable energy source groups.
These groups have been quietly but continuously working to deliberately delay implementations of regulations and policies to halt global warming. The brothers are now being monitored as prime examples of how big utilities can take over a government under the guise of “charitable” organizations and non-profits. The co-opting and funding that they provided to the Tea Party movement is now documented as evidence of their machinations.
Why the Solar Market is a Threat to Koch Industries
The privately-held second largest oil corporation in the U.S., Koch Industries, owned and controlled by Charles and David, has generated billions for Koch Industries but that’s not all their company is doing. The brothers, together with their conservative alliances in state governments across the country, have been going all-out to stop all incentives to support the use of renewable energy.
With their seemingly limitless sources of funds, the brothers are determined to propagate “unplug solar power” schemes by pressuring legislatures to oblige solar power panel users to pay surtax to get connected to the national grid; this is being done to discourage consumers from going solar. Simply put, the solar market is a threat to Koch Industries with the greatest advantage: the electricity it generates is free and can operate forever.
Strengthening the Anti-Renewable Energy Sources Agenda
Around 40% of the country’s electricity remains powered by coal and only less than 1% today of consumers have solar arrays installed, yet the future can even now be told to lean on the side of renewable energy. This thought has always been disturbing to Koch Industries since the advent of new regulations on emissions of toxic substances (such as mercury from power plants).
The urgency for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions would eventually compel state governments to find other natural, renewable energy sources such as the sun, the wind, and the oceans. To further this agenda to unplug solar power, the brothers finance think-tanks and other special interest organizations with emphasis on:
- Opposing environmental regulation.
- Relaxing limits on industrial pollution rules.
- Preventing the enactment of measures to create clean energy law.
The Spheres of Influence of the Brothers Koch
The money to fund the agenda to unplug solar power is funneled through entities such as the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation, the David H. Koch Charitable Foundation, and the Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation. The deep pockets of the brothers have funded the following institutions:
- George Mason University: $2,311,149.
- Institute for Justice: $1,000,000.
- Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment: $810,000.
- The Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies: $504,000.
- Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy: $385,000.
- Capital Research Centre: $340,000.
- Competitive Enterprise Institute: $254,460.
- American Legislative Exchange Council: $120,000.
- Political Economy Research Centre, Inc.: $80,000.
- Media Institute: $60,000.
And this is not even a complete list; the spheres of influence that these institutions funded by the brothers of Koch Industries are so vast and prominent that the overflowing clout would seem an overkill to unplug the solar market.
But it seems that the brothers of Koch Industries and the allies they have found in the big utilities will not rest until they have totally eliminated the rapidly increasing solar market. Traditional power suppliers want their share of power generated by renewable sources, yet they oppose net metering, a process which would allow users of solar panels to sell their excess electricity back to the national grid.
Green Mandates Are a Bad Policy?
So what does Koch Industries really want? They have said in their company press releases and TV interviews that they advocate consumer choice; this is a contradiction of what the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has been lobbying for: penalties to be imposed on consumers who invest their hard-earned money in solar panels because these are energy efficient and environmentally beneficial.
The ALEC is bankrolled by David and Charles Koch, whose Koch Industries include oil refineries, natural gas pipelines, and petroleum chemicals that fuel big utilities and other fossil fuel-generated energy sources. Spokeswoman Christine Harbin Hanson of Americans for Prosperity, another advocacy entity funded by Charles and David Koch, even went so far as to say that “these green energy mandates are bad policy.” Bad policy for the brothers Koch, obviously, since the implementation of these mandates would decrease their profits considerably.