Political, solar vets launch advocacy group to get clean energy on ballots

Expect a flood of pro-clean energy ballot initiatives to be floated in this year’s midterm elections, at least if a new advocacy group called the Energy Future Project has its way.

As the calendar turned to a new year, a group of solar veterans like Dan Rosen (founder of Mosaic), Abigail Ross Hopper (president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association) and Adam Browning (Vote Solar) joined forces with political operative Ryan Gallentine and others to form the group, whose primary objective is to organize grassroots efforts to mobilize pro-clean energy – including solar – voters in the 2018 election cycle.

The group’s goal is to provide state-level activists with direction and support as they support candidates who want to see the clean energy revolution spread even further across the country. It will also provide guidance on creating pro-clean energy ballot initiatives, like expanding existing clean energy standards where they exist, say the group’s organizers.

“We’re going to go state by state and community by community helping local activists organize to give voters a say,” said Ryan Gallentine, Energy Future Project President. “It’s time to let the people decide whether they want clean, affordable energy or the same monopoly fossil fuel system we’ve had for a century. I am confident that voters will send a message that their choice is clear.”

The Energy Future Project is attempting to capitalize on statistics like the oft-repeated “nine out of every 10 Americans support solar energy”, a fact on which, if true, the industry has done a particularly poor job of capitalizing.

According to the Energy Future Project, a 2016 Pew survey suggests more than four in five Americans support expanding deployment of clean energy sources like wind and solar, cutting across every political and demographic group.

Unlike other groups like TUSK (Tell Utilities Solar won’t be Killed) and the Green Tea Party, Energy Future Project does not appear to specifically cater to conservatives. However there is less to distinguish its specific angle from that of Solar United Neighbors or Vote Solar, and it’s fair to wonder whether the ever-cascading proliferation of such groups might dilute the overall power of such grassroots, pro-solar efforts.

For now, however, the Energy Future Project has its sights set squarely on putting initiatives on state ballots before this year’s elections in November.

“From small towns looking to save on energy costs to states looking for ways to improve air quality and attract a huge new industry creating thousands of jobs, on this issue we can’t wait for politics as usual,” said Dan Rosen, Board Chairman of Energy Future Project and founder of Mosaic, the largest solar lender in the United States. “It’s clear we need to put it to a public vote to make it happen.”