It is well known that the Koch brothers and their fellow fossil fuel barons continue to undermine renewable energy. Los Angles Times
Roof top solar, in particular, terrifies them.The Washington Post Their worry, of course, is that solar will become as cheap or cheaper than wind energy which is already out competing their fossil fuel assets.
Legislation targeting solar is being pushed by the American Legislative Exchange Council or ALEC, a non profit supported by the Kochs. Our own Rep. Pat Garofalo, chair of the House energy committee, is Minnesota State Co-chair of ALEC. So when the Legislative Citizens Commission on Minnesota Resources unamiously recommended a University of Minnesota proposal for a grant from lottery proceeds to develop more efficient and cheaper solar cells, Rep. Garofalo said no.
The proposal from a professor in the U’s Department of Mechanical Engineering is particularly innovative and useful. It is also cutting edge, using a material that is lighter, cheaper and more efficient than silica. The money from lottery proceeds will be used to develop the techniques needed and field test the new photovoltaic material. This is the very basic research that the U does well and our industries depend on.
The proposal was taken out of the LCCMR bill in the House environment committee but is still in the Senate’s LCCMR bill.