Green Energy Is Big Business. It’s No Surprise It Uses PR Tactics That Worked for Oil and Gas Industry
COMMENTARY

March 15, 2023by Michelle Kuppersmith, Executive Director, Campaign for Accountability
Green Energy Is Big Business. It’s No Surprise It Uses PR Tactics That Worked for Oil and Gas Industry
Solar panels dot a residential neighborhood. (Photo by Jeremy Bezanger via unsplash)

Over the next decade to slow the pace of climate change it is imperative that we transition towards a better mix of energy sources and speed the adoption of renewable power sources like wind and solar. 

Fortunately, the Biden administration has jump-started the green energy transition with the Inflation Reduction Act and the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which will invest billions of dollars in upgrading our infrastructure and technology on things such as zero emission public transit vehicles, a network of electric vehicle car charging stations, new transmission lines to facilitate the expansion of renewables and clean energy, tax credits for wind, solar, nuclear and other renewable energy sources, and providing consumers with incentives to purchase more energy-efficient appliances.

Whenever this much money is washing around Washington, the competition to grab a piece of the pie is fierce. It results in aggressive public affairs campaigns and we’re already seeing a clash between old and new energy technologies, with each side spending millions to influence the transition.

A progressive organization, the Center for Biological Diversity, recently issued a press release about its new report — a joint project with the Energy and Policy Institute — entitled “U.S. Utilities Shut Off Power 5.7 Million Times as Shareholders, Executives Raked in Billions.” The release cites EPI as “a watchdog organization working to expose attacks on renewable energy and counter misinformation by fossil fuel and utility interests.”

A quick Google search of EPI would turn up my organization’s report detailing the extensive financial ties between EPI and rooftop solar companies notorious for preying on vulnerable populations. 

While EPI calls itself a think tank and watchdog organization that aims to reveal the hidden influence of fossil fuel and utility companies, EPI is opaque about its own funding. EPI is not a nonprofit organization recognized by the IRS, nor is it registered with any relevant secretary of state. 

Instead, EPI appears to be the creation of a public relations firm. Further, EPI has ties to the rooftop solar industry. While certainly not every rooftop solar company is problematic, the industry on the whole has a bad reputation for scamming low-income and unsophisticated customers. Attorneys general in numerous states including New Mexico, Texas, New Jersey and Massachusetts have filed complaints against and entered into settlement agreements with rooftop solar companies that have targeted and misled elderly and non-English speaking customers to sign long-term agreements for rooftop solar panels that can easily cost upwards of $20,000. The price of buying or leasing those panels can easily wipe out any cost savings they offer on customers’ electric bills. 

We desperately need clean energy companies to help transition to a more environmentally sustainable economy, but green energy is a big business, and the media should give readers the whole picture when quoting a front group like EPI. 


Michelle Kuppersmith is the executive director of Campaign for Accountability, a nonpartisan, nonprofit watchdog organization that uses research, litigation and aggressive communications to expose misconduct and malfeasance in public life. You can reach her here by email.

A+
a-

In The News

Health

Voting

Opinions

Oversight Hearing on Illegal E-Cigarettes Highlights Dire Need for Reform of the FDA

The Senate deserves credit for holding a recent hearing that underscored the failure of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for... Read More

The Senate deserves credit for holding a recent hearing that underscored the failure of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Tobacco Products to provide clear and fair regulatory pathways for smoke-free tobacco products that provide Americans with less harmful alternatives to combustible cigarettes. This hearing follows... Read More

E15 Fuel Can Be an Important Tool to Tackle Climate Change

On Earth Day this April, many Americans reflected on what we can do to protect our planet. We are already... Read More

On Earth Day this April, many Americans reflected on what we can do to protect our planet. We are already seeing the effects of climate change, and we know this is not a problem for future generations to solve — it’s up to us. One fact remains clear:... Read More

Latest Cyberattack Is Yet Another Wake-Up Call to Protect the Practice of Independent Medicine

With the rapid increase in drug and labor costs, more administrative burdens from insurance companies, and growing demand for health... Read More

With the rapid increase in drug and labor costs, more administrative burdens from insurance companies, and growing demand for health care, it’s more challenging — yet even more important — for doctors to continue serving their communities. Nevertheless, independent practices in towns across the country have... Read More

June 11, 2024
by Trump Agonistes
Trump Agonistes

One of the intriguing stories in the Bible about the power of vengeance is that of the death of Samson,... Read More

One of the intriguing stories in the Bible about the power of vengeance is that of the death of Samson, which is described in Judges 16.  The strong-man judge of Israel and scourge of the uncircumcised Philistines had finally been betrayed by Delilah and captured by... Read More

The Supreme Court: Term Limits and Mandatory Retirement

Recent Supreme Court decisions have served as reminders of the politicization of the high court. This does not imply that... Read More

Recent Supreme Court decisions have served as reminders of the politicization of the high court. This does not imply that there hasn’t always been a political element to Supreme Court nominations, confirmations and subsequent decisions. However, in recent years, replete with acrimonious Senate hearings, the politicization... Read More

Large Cannabis Companies Spending Millions to Shut Down Hemp 

The year thus far has been enlightening for lawmakers and hemp industry stakeholders. Just as the hemp industry started to... Read More

The year thus far has been enlightening for lawmakers and hemp industry stakeholders. Just as the hemp industry started to recover after a rocky start, a fellow product category took aim — the cannabis industry. And coming out of the House Farm Bill markup, the agenda... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top