Solar Design Studio Managing Partner Bob Solger recently provided expert testimony at the EPA hearing to repeal the Clean Power Plan. These were his remarks:
Thank you for the opportunity to speak in support of the Clean Power Plan. As I have worked in the solar industry for the past 16 years, I have seen how renewable energy reduces pollution and creates jobs. But I am also seeing how the Clean Power Plan is a driver for grid modernization and infrastructure investment.
My firm focuses on the application of Distributed Energy Resources or Distributed Generation Technologies such as solar power and battery storage of that power. These technologies provide for power generation at the point of consumption and are the foundation of grid modernization.
Grid Modernization is a general term for a strategy to transition from traditional one-way power flow to an interconnected web that can offer valuable added services. Grid Modernization makes the grid safer, more resilient, more reliable, less costly to operate, and brings new functionality to the grid itself.
The severe weather disasters in the Southeast and Puerto Rico confirm there is an overriding need for grid modernization, more specifically Distributed Energy Resources. These resources are available before, during, and after a disaster. They mitigate safety issues, speed recovery, and reduce recovery costs, which are estimated at $40 billion to $75 billion per outage.
More than 30 states embrace grid modernization. In the Missouri Legislature, Senate Bill 564 - Grid Modernization is under debate. Kansas, which is 5th in the nation in solar resources, would enjoy a significant increase in jobs by leveraging a nationwide grid modernization strategy.
Since the grid is a vital part of our country's infrastructure, its modernization should be a key component of the Administration’s infrastructure investment strategy.
Many studies have found that 16.7 jobs are created per million dollars of spending on clean power. In the solar industry, employment nationwide grew 86% over the past 5 years to over 260,077 workers in 2016. When considering indirect and induced employment, the solar industry supported almost 789,000 jobs or $50 billion in salaries. The median wage for solar installers is $26 per hour.
Implementing the Clean Power Plan would contribute to this clean energy economy by creating a demand for Distributed Energy Resources and should be a key component of any infrastructure investment.
For a number of large businesses, embracing the Clean Power Plan is a business strategy that enhances their brand and affords savings which go straight to the bottom line. Approximately 43 percent of Fortune 500 companies have already set targets to reduce carbon pollution, improve energy efficiency, and procure more renewable energy.
On the flip side, an analysis by Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) shows that if the EPA scrapped the Clean Power Plan, Missouri alone would lose out on 13,400 new jobs and $1.1 billion in added gross domestic product by 2030. Nationally, we would forgo up to 560,000 new jobs and $52 billion in gross domestic product.
Scrapping the Clean Power Plan is not a good business decision.
Therefore, I recommend the EPA deploy the Clean Power Plan as a business strategy that supports innovation, drives economic development, and creates jobs while protecting the environment.