Tea Party on Energy: Should We Depend on the Sun or the Koch Brothers?

There’s an interesting Tea Party spat happening in Georgia over what sources of energy the state should consume. One faction seems to support increasing the state’s energy independence by increasing the percentage of solar energy produced and consumed. The other wing is funded by the Koch Brothers, who’s financial interest is tied to importing and refining dirty fuels in Georgia:

Debbie Dooley, national coordinator of the Patriots, was one of dozens of people testifying during a multi-month commission hearing on the plan. She favors increased use of solar, in particular a request by the start-up Georgia Solar Utilities.Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download

The newcomer wants a contract to supply all of Georgia Power’s solar energy and has offered to rebate its profits to individual customers.

“What we’re looking at is a plan that guarantees there would be no upward pressure on rates,” she said.

What’s interesting about this is that Tea Party folks seem to understand that there’s no way the private market is going to achieve significant gains in solar production without mandates. (Frankly, doubling solar production in 20 years isn’t exactly an ambitious goal but it’s better than nothing.)

What are the Koch brothers supposed to do when a company is willing to provide solar energy as a coop (rebating profits)?. They shouldn’t have to compete against cleaner energy sources run by people who aren’t interested in becoming billionaires. That’s unfair competition requiring a misinformation campaign to lock in government mandates that favor burning stuff that another generation of Georgia’s kids will be forced to breath.

6 thoughts on “Tea Party on Energy: Should We Depend on the Sun or the Koch Brothers?”

  1. Gosh, such evil folks. The Koch brothers have some oil. You can buy it, or not. They leave the choice to you, and aren’t asking for anything.

    The solar panel folks are asking for tax breaks, mandated solar tariffs, a requirement that power companies buy their intermittent product at rates far above market rates, and guarantees that they won’t face any competition.

    Oh, and those solar panels that have dropped in price? They also dropped in quality. They break decades before they’re supposed to.

    But hey, it’s not like it’s their money! Guaranteed profit, courtesy of the taxpayers.

  2. Gosh, such evil folks. The Koch brothers have some oil. You can buy it, or not. They leave the choice to you, and aren’t asking for anything.

    When cars have a monopoly in transportation, and oil has a monopoly in fueling cars, and Koch has a monopoly in transporting and refining oil in Minnesota, it’s not really a “choice”, now is it?

  3. Cars don’t have a monopoly. They’re just the most popular way of getting around. And there are alternatives to fueling cars from crude oil derivatives. It’s just that none of the alternative fuels are nearly as energy-dense and economical.

    But what makes you think Koch Industries has a monopoly in Minnesota? Have you never seen the Marathon refinery in South St. Paul? In general, Marathon and SuperAmerica get their products from this refinery. So buy at SA, and you’re not giving the Koch brothers a dime.

    Shoot, buy a diesel vehicle, and a farm, and grow soybeans. Burn the soybean oil in your vehicle. You’re off the grid!

  4. The Koch refinery is strangely beautiful at night. Always smells like kerosene. A lot of it has got to be going to Delta Air Lines.

  5. Cars don’t have a monopoly.

    You don’t understand what a monopoly is. It doesn’t mean an absolute lack of competition or substitutes. This is the real world. Cars have an effective monopoly in personal transportation and Koch has an effective monopoly in crude delivery and refining in Minnesota.

    I knew you’d make this objection. Just wanted to see if you’d bite on that term, as most people have a cocktail-party level of “understanding” of economic terms.

    Flint Hills has about 80% refining market share in MN.
    http://www.eia.gov/petroleum/refinerycapacity/refcap13.xls

    And they supply the crude for it with their pipeline system.
    http://www.kochpipeline.com/AboutUs/our_operations.asp

    And cars and light trucks account for 84% of US surface person-trips.
    http://www.rita.dot.gov/bts/sites/rita.dot.gov.bts/files/publications/national_transportation_statistics/html/table_01_40.html
    http://www.rita.dot.gov/bts/sites/rita.dot.gov.bts/files/publications/national_transportation_statistics/html/table_01_35.html
    http://cta.ornl.gov/data/tedb31/Edition31_Chapter08.pdf
    http://www.apta.com/resources/statistics/Documents/FactBook/APTA_2011_Fact_Book.pdf

    PS – Marathon sold the SPP refinery in 2010.

    Also, since you raised SA, they are the Twin Cities price-setters because of their large market share. Not quite a monopoly, but has the price-setting power of one.

    So much for “choice”.

    The point is that I trust you are not naive enough to believe that there is realistic “choice” in personal transportation and how it’s fueled in the US and especially in Minnesota as it relates to Koch Industries. You CAN choose things other than cars or oil, but the system is set up to create the outcomes that it gets.

    By your logic, you shouldn’t complain about solar subsidies, because you’re not forced to pay taxes. Just don’t earn any money or buy anything or live in the US. You have a choice, right? Or are taxes a functional monopoly that you basically have to take part in for all practical purposes to be a functioning member of this society?

    Even if I didn’t have a car or use gasoline, the price of gasoline effects the prices I pay for things and the welfare of my fellow citizens who buy it. So it effects me regardless.

    But I’m sure the Kochs appreciate the obsequiousness.

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