Group challenges anti-renewables messaging of 50-state policy network

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The State Policy Network (SPN) maintains that the adoption of “more intermittent energy sources such as wind and solar” in several states “is leading to an unreliable grid and soaring costs.”

The network, which has announced that energy is one of its four priority issues “in the 2024 state legislative sessions,” says it is working “to prevent states from adopting unreliable, intermittent sources that make the grid less stable and increase costs,” adding that it favors nuclear and geothermal power.

The pro-renewables Energy and Policy Institute (EPI) has called attention to SPN’s 2024 state-level energy policy work, and has rebutted SPN’s claims about renewables in a brief report on the network.

“In reality,” EPI says, “methane gas failures have been primarily to blame for major blackouts during extreme weather events in recent years,” citing a Union of Concerned Scientists report.

As for increased electricity prices, EPI says that higher fuel costs for power plants that burn coal, gas and petroleum have driven those increases, citing a U.S. Energy Information Administration analysis.

EPI describes SPN as “the national organization at the center of a 50-state network of think tank affiliates that is at the forefront of disinformation campaigns against wind and solar power, and is funded by right-wing donors and fossil fuel interests.”

SPN reports annual revenues of $24 million and combined annual revenues across its 150 think tank members totaling $188 million. The network says that its 150 think tank members include 64 state-focused think tanks in 50 states.

The American Legislative Exchange Council is an SPN partner group that is “a frequent source of ‘model’ legislation that targets state clean energy and climate change policies,” says EPI.

SPN’s annual meetings, EPI adds, are co-sponsored by a fossil fuel industry group as well as “multiple groups backed by Charles Koch,” a billionaire who is CEO and chairman of Koch Industries, a privately held multinational conglomerate with subsidiaries operating in the petroleum and energy sectors.

SPN says its mission is to “catalyze thriving, durable freedom movements in every state, anchored with high-performing independent think tanks.”

EPI has also prepared profiles of three think tanks it said are affiliated with SPN and “involved in coast-to-coast efforts to block renewable energy projects”:

  • Texas Public Policy Foundation
  • Caesar Rodney Institute
  • Cascade Policy Institute.

EPI provides brief descriptions of additional groups it says are affiliated or associated with SPN that have “also been ramping up efforts to block renewable energy”:

  • Buckeye Institute
  • Center for the American Experiment
  • John Locke Foundation
  • Mackinac Center for Public Policy
  • Energy and Environment Legal Institute
  • Cato Institute
  • Heartland Institute
  • Manhattan Institute

EPI describes itself as “a watchdog organization working to expose attacks on renewable energy and counter misinformation by fossil fuel and utility interests.”

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