February 3, 2023

LibertyMarkets & Free Enterprise

Renewables Are More Bipartisan Than Polarizing. Let’s Treat Them That Way.

By: Kelvey Vander Hart

It seems like politicians and activists have been scoring political points off of renewable energy for ages. Accusing the ‘others’ as being pro- or anti-renewable is often just the type of polarization that can help agitate supporters into action. But now renewable energy is actually more bipartisan than it is polarizing , and it is about time we treat it that way. 

Renewable bipartisanship recently had a good moment in the press. The U.S. Energy Information Administration announced that Texas could soon overtake California in solar power capacity. Politico also recently reported, albeit in a politically polarizing way, that renewable development is taking off in red states across the country. All of this news was met with applause from one of the key Democratic voices on the environment within the Biden administration: U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm. 

“With respect to Texas, what an opportunity for every state to be able to produce clean energy. And, in fact, a recent Politico story suggested that there was an abundance of announcements coming out of red states. Great! That is fantastic,” Granholm said. “We want to be able to see energy, clean energy produced in every pocket of the country—blue states, red states—really, it helps to save people money, so it’s really all about green.”

Granholm had a good point—a driving factor of growing renewable bipartisanship is framing it from an economic perspective instead of discussing it within the context of climate change. The economic impact figures of renewable energy are powerful enough to change minds. The American Clean Power Association reports that clean power has employed 443,000 Americans while generating $2.8 billion a year in landowner lease payments and state and local taxes.

We all want good jobs and healthy economies in our states. We all want energy that keeps the lights on without price hikes. These desires are unifying. Being able to rally around these goals and, regardless of slight differences in opinion, point to renewable energy as a path forward is what has converted this into a bipartisan issue. 

To be sure, there are figureheads on both the left and the right that want you to believe that the whole country cannot find common ground on renewables. But should we really be taking our policy (or political) cues from the Charlie Kirks, the Tucker Carlsons, or the Sunrise Movements of the world? 

It should also be emphasized that haggling over differences does not make for a polarizing issue. It has become evident that environmentalism as a whole is a bipartisan issue, yet there is still plenty of room for disagreements and differing ideas. There is even plenty of room for concern, like wanting to know more about recent wind turbine collapses, while still refusing to treat renewable energy as politically polarizing. 

You may be on the right or on the left. You may vote red or blue (or gold, or green…). But wherever you stand, it is hard not to see that renewable energy is taking off, it is bringing serious benefits to our country, and it is here for good. It is time we all embrace renewable energy as a bipartisan issue and get started on working out the kinks instead of pretending like it is still logical or fashionable to treat it as something divisive.