Traditional power companies looking to fend off the rise of the solar sector are fighting pitched battles around the nation to protect their turf, according to an in-depth Rolling Stone magazine article that should be of great interest in the islands.
The Feb. 11 article by Tim Dickinson focuses partly on the political lobbying, campaign donations and ballot initiative efforts of companies like NextEra Energy subsidiary Florida Power & Light.
NextEra is seeking regulatory approval to buy Hawaiian Electric Industries for $4.3 billion, but it is unclear whether the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission will allow the deal to go through.
The Rolling Stone article notes that utilities are top political donors in Florida. “Since 2004, the state’s four largest (Internet-owned utilities) contributed at least $18 million to state politicians and political committees — a preponderance to Republicans, who now control state government. In addition, since 2007, the companies spent at least $12 million on lobbying, employing an average of one lobbyist for every two legislators in Tallahassee.”