[T]wo of Georgia’s most prominent tea party groups have come down on opposite sides in the debate over requiring Georgia Power to use a set amount of solar energy.
The Public Service Commission votes July 11 on the company’s 20-year plan, and one commissioner had said he’ll propose a doubling of the roughly 250 megawatts of solar power the utility has planned. That vote is the rallying point for the activists in both groups, the Tea Party Patriots and Americans for Prosperity.
Debbie Dooley, national coordinator of the Patriots, was one of dozens of people testifying during a multi-month commission hearing on the plan. She favors increased use of solar, in particular a request by the start-up Georgia Solar Utilities.
Then Monday, Americans for Prosperity emailed its 50,000 Georgia members urging them to oppose requiring more solar. It argues that unless its members take action their bills could increase 40 percent.
Virginia Galloway, Americans for Prosperity’s state director and one of the earliest organizers of the anti-tax rallies in 2009 that spawned the tea-party movement, says renewable-energy mandates in other states led to 40-percent higher electricity costs.
“It’s like saying you have to buy groceries this week and you have to buy a certain amount from Whole Foods … and I can get everything at Publix less expensively,” she said.