Now clean energy has entered its sullen, teen aged years and suddenly it's not so cherubic anymore. Clean energy has become demanding, shrill and arrogant, and average Americans are turning away. The messenger is killing the message.
Last week, a collection of environmental interest groups berated President Obama for not moving fast enough on climate change to suit their environmental goals.
A chastising response from Obama advisor John Podesta ended with this sentence:
In the meantime, we will continue to welcome your advice, based on your very long experience on how to convince the American
public of the need and opportunity to transform dirty energy systems to ones that are cleaner and more efficient.
It's taken us hundreds of years to get to this point, and climate change isn't going to be fixed this month, this year, or maybe even this century. Certainly not within the lifetimes of the current crop of arrogant clean energy advocates pouring out of our educational system, who seem to believe that arrogant disparagement is a useful tool to convince others to adopt their own sense of urgency in realizing their personal clean energy goals.
The false sense of urgency being pushed on the American public would require them to buy into the rhetoric that clean energy must be accomplished right now by plunging headlong into enabling big wind's big profits, and fostering social injustice by taking from one segment of society in order to make the needs of others more climate friendly. This is not a sustainable plan and it is being soundly rejected by the American public.
"So what?", clean energy may say. "We'll force them to adopt our clean energy plans!"
Not so fast. The American public holds title to land needed by the big Midwest wind-a-thon, and they're not giving up easily. It's turning into a political clash of epic proportions, and the landowners and voters have dug in their heels for a long, messy battle. Now clean energy must find a way to part land from landowner if it intends to move forward.
Is the CFRA's report on transmission opposition "issues" going to do the trick? Probably not.
Will a couple of Fresh Energy executives playing the part of an impartial news source help?
Communications. To achieve results, we must move the national narrative around clean energy and climate. Stories that show the economic benefits of a clean energy economy and positive, science-based discussions about clean energy, climate, and health are keys to progress. Fresh Energy has expanded our commitment to become a clean energy communications leader, as producers of the regional online news site Midwest Energy News and in debate-changing strategic communications efforts.
Wind power is a major ingredient in the transition to a clean energy economy. But to make it work, we need transmission lines that
bring electricity from windy areas to urban centers. If we do it right, wind blowing on the Great Plains will keep the lights on in
Minneapolis, Chicago, and Detroit, creating new jobs, protecting our air and water, and reducing reliance on dirty coal power. The Midwest’s transmission grid is managed by the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), one of the largest transmission organizations in the world. Fresh Energy has been working with MISO and a network of partners to plan for 17 new multi-value transmission lines in the region, ensuring they are financed fairly and designed in a way that maximizes clean energy use and saves customers money. A strong, regional transmission backbone reduces dependence on coal plants. Determining how transmission lines are sited and routed—and how landowners are compensated—is a crucial step. With our technical knowledge and commitment to community livability, Fresh Energy is playing a key role in this process. As Fresh Energy and its partners continue the push for more clean energy in Minnesota and the upper Midwest,
we’re setting the stage for the next set of transmission lines that will make or break our ability to fully harness the potential of the wind.
Did the Midwest Energy News editor's "conversation" with landowners help them see the light about clean energy? Or did it just make them more determined to put a stop to what they see as short-sighted and unacceptable energy initiatives to build a coast-to-coast transmission "superhighway" to enable Enron-style energy trading? Or maybe they simply concluded that clean energy is a bully and a brat?
A true, sustainable, clean energy future is going to require thoughtful and empathetic leadership over the long term, and the patience to develop new technologies that provide real benefit to everyone. Clean Energy is not yet mature.