On Oct. 27, just a day before Republican presidential candidates debate in Boulder, Colo. two separate organizations, NextGen Climate (NGC) and TUSK (Tell Utilities Solar won’t be Killed) have launched new advertising campaigns supporting solar and clean energy. The former, by NGC specifically targets Wednesday’s debate. The latter, by former Republican Congressman Barry Goldwater Jr.’s TUSK, targets attacks to rooftop solar power in Louisiana.
Both campaigns show that solar, wind and other forms of clean energy are drawing enough support—financially to actually afford airtime on TV networks. Something a few years ago was less likely. But now that clean energy and air are more in the zeitgeist it’s hopeful such campaigns will further educate the public and help increase adoption of clean energy and promote solar-friendly policy for more states.
The NGC ad is called “Who We Are.” The organization said it’s making a six-figure purchase to air the ad on CNBC, online and nationally. It’s calling on the next president to explain a plan to reach 50 percent clean energy in the U.S. by 2030. In fact, it’s one of four videos the organization posted to its YouTube Channel on Oct. 27. NBC has previously made videos and ad-spots, but this is likely the first time its made a spot particularly for a presidential debate.
“Tomorrow, the Republican presidential candidates must finally listen to their voters and tell the American people how they would tackle the threat of climate change and accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy,” the organization said. With Boulder’s liberal center and recently efforts to create its own, 100 percent clean-powered utility, it’s quite likely that candidates will face some questions regarding their clean energy policies.
“It’s time for the Republican presidential candidates to recognize that America is ready to tackle the threat of climate change head-on and lead the world on clean energy solutions,” NGC said. Republicans, particularly at the federal level have bristled more at supporting clean energy and clean energy policies. But that is changing.
Goldwater, for instance, is supportive of solar power. "Monopoly utilities are trying to limit solar growth despite the benefits solar provides in Louisiana," Goldwater said in the spot. "It is important Louisianans tell the Public Service Commission that they want to continue to have the choice to put solar on their roofs.” TUSK has previously launched campaigns in Arizona and other states to support rooftop solar policies that allow consumers more choice in their energy sources.
Goldwater’s organization, TUSK, is supporting solar as the Louisiana Public Service Commission decides whether or not that state’s cap on net-metering should be raised. “Utilities across the country have obstructed lifting caps on free market rooftop solar growth. As part of a national utility playbook to eliminate competition from rooftop solar Louisiana utilities are requesting changes that would weaken net metering altogether,” TUSK contended.
TUSK’s involvement in solar, as well as recent studies show that Republicans also support more clean energy in the U.S. “Republican voters know that climate change is an urgent threat to our country’s economic and national security and are looking for leadership from the next president. Poll after poll shows that Republican voters strongly support the transition to a clean energy economy. Last week, a new poll from the University of Texas at Austin showed a “massive shift” on climate attitudes among Republicans, a majority of whom now support increasing clean energy production. Moreover, a Hart Research poll released in August found that 54 percent of Republicans in key battleground states favor a goal to power our country with more than 50 percent clean energy by 2030,” NGC observed.