For those who may not know, ALEC is the American Legislative Exchange Council, a group funded by the Koch brothers and their big fossil fuel friends. ALEC has been particularly interested in undermining solar energy. The fossil fuel industry worries that solar energy will become as cheap as wind energy which is already outcompeting fossil fuels. If renewable energy is cheaper than fossil fuels then the assets held by the fossil fuel industry will become less and less valuable.
The project that Rep. Garofalo takes credit for killing was designed to develop inexpensive, high-efficiency solar energy by using a new photovoltaic material and roll-to-roll manufacturing technology.
This project was one of six relating to solar energy that was recommended for funding by the Legislative Citizens Commission for Natural Resources, the group that recommends grants from lottery proceeds. Each of these six projects was deleted from the LCCMR package by the Republican controlled Environment and Natural Resources Committee in the House.
Here is what the five other projects that were deleted would have accomplished:
Create a research-based energy storage guide for small renewable energy generators;
Develop a new clean technology system to absorb and store solar energy during the daytime so the solar energy can be used at a later time;
Evaluate the use of solar for both generating farm electricity and for using the
shade from the system to promote animal welfare and increased milk production;
Determine whether targeted distribution of clean energy generation can replace or defer the need for transmission upgrades;
Develop and test the potential for robots to manage weeds in pastures as a way to reduce herbicide use.
You can see what Rep. Garofalo did last year in the April 12, 2016 post titled “Cheaper, more efficient solar. Rep. Pat Garofalo says no. Chalk up another gift to fossil fuel folks.”
If that isn’t enough, there’s more. The Republican lead Environment and Natural Resources Committee also eliminated LCCMR recommended grants that mentioned climate change.