Dr. Timothy Schoechle's new paper examines the harmful policies of large environmental organizations – such as the EDF and the NRDC – who are resisting renewable energy technologies and supporting a multi-billion dollar allocation for new utility meters, called ‘smart’ meters, which do not have any of the benefits claimed.
"Green Electricity or Green Money?" by National Institute for Science, Law and Public Policy (NISLAPP)
Dr. Timothy Schoechle’s new paper examines the greenwashed and harmful policies of large environmental organizations, who are resisting renewable energy technologies and supporting a multi-billion dollar allocation for new utility meters, called ‘smart’ meters, which do not have any of the benefits claimed.
UPDATED: 13 November 2014, 10:20am PST

A well-documented new report, “Green Electricity or Green Money?”, exposes conflicts of interest and mistaken positions on energy policy at certain large environmental organizations – such as the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and the Natural Resources Defense Counsel (NRDC).

The National Institute for Science, Law and Public Policy (NISLAPP) released the paper earlier this week.

In “Green Electricity or Green Money?” Dr. Schoechle poses the following questions:

  • Why do some large environmental organizations collaborate with fossil fuel industries to obstruct, mislead and divert efforts to revamp our energy economy?
  • Do the significant annual capital needs of these organizations limit their independence and thus their ability to achieve meaningful environmental goals?
  • To what degree have these organizations lost sight of their missions, and thus lost their legitimacy as representatives of the people?
  • Should local communities provide “checks” on Big Environmentalism by taking more control of their own energy future to assure sustainability?
  • Are well-known “clean energy” investors interested in clean energy—or merely in green money and the “greenwashing” of their investments?

Read and download the complete 28-page report here:
“Green Electricity or Green Money” by Timothy Schoechle, PhD (pdf)

or read it on the NISLAPP website

UPDATE: Timothy Schoechle interviewed on KGNU’s “How on Earth”:

Excerpts from “Green Electricity or Green Money?”:

This article examines two of the three largest environmental organizations, the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and offers specific cases where they appear to have lost their way and are failing us when we need them most. These cases show the pitfalls of the compromises and accommodations that many environmentalists have made in order to raise money and support their organizational growth as well as their political and other goals. They also show that true leadership and change can only spring from the people and not from governments and entrenched institutions.

The case below of the EDF looks at its vigorous advocacy of “smart meters”, devices that have been shown to have dubious energy merits and serious environmental, privacy, and public policy drawbacks. The promotion of smart meters has diverted massive financial resources in directions tangential to the goals of a truly intelligent electricity grid and integration of community-based clean energy, and has fed public cynicism about the “smart grid”—the last thing one would expect a leading environmental organization to do. The case also looks at EDF’s role in fostering the deceptive siren call of the supposedly “green” energy investment mirage by venture capitalists, financiers, and government.

In failing to understand, or ignoring the grassroots public pushback against smart meters, Krupp, Marston, and their EDF, as well as the NRDC, have again lost touch with their public and its concerns. The rebellion against smart meters, having spread to many states as well as to Canada, Australia, Europe, and the UK, may be really only one symptom of a broadly dysfunctional, entrenched, institutionalized, and polluting electricity and energy economy that EDF and NRDC are abetting. The shortcomings and failures of state and federal electricity policy exemplified by the preoccupation with smart meter has been extensively documented (Schoechle, 2012).

One of Kleiner’s investments was Silver Spring Networks, a startup manufacturer of specialized wireless smart meter networks for the utility industry, becoming one of the principal drivers of the ill-conceived smart meter network business boom driven by federal stimulus funding. Al Gore, teaming up with Doerr and Kleiner, became a major Silver Spring investor. The fledgling firm benefitted from a share of the $2 billion in matching stimulus funding provided to utilities for smart meter programs.9 Kleiner partners and Gore donated some $2 million to 2008 political campaigns—mostly to Democrats (Stassel, 2013). Ann Doerr, wife of John Doerr, is a member of the EDF board—a red flag for a potential conflict of interest that may explain some of EDF’s empathy with the smart meter business.

A recurring pattern has emerged. An exclusive club of supposedly “green” investors get the government to put up big money to lever their self-serving “green” technology ideas. These deals suck up all the oxygen and the smaller, possibly more promising, entrepreneurial projects don’t get funded. Marston and Krupp seem to be insiders in this club, pushing ill-considered “green” ideas like smart meters so that their cohorts, like Doerr and Gore, can benefit. 

The Joint Statement to Utility Regulators (NRDC, 2014) mentioned above was issued by the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) and the NDRC on February 12, 2014. It is an artfully crafted justification for maintaining and shielding private investor-owned utility (IOU) monopoly profits—in the face of the dramatic challenges abruptly confronting the electric power system posed by the popularity among homeowners of distributed renewable energy—particularly rooftop solar.

Such was the basic thrust of the EEI Disruptive Challenges report—that the basic business model of the utility industry was going to change. The prescient 20-page report set the stage for the current debate. It offered the electricity industry a “heads-up” that their basic business model was threatened by distributed renewable energy—the “rooftop revolution” that is well underway in countries like Germany—and it recommended that they rethink their entire model and prepare for change and disruption

Without a community basis of political power, the environmental organization can lapse into the role of selling their “legitimacy” by signing on to or “blessing” polluting, heavily compromised, or counterproductive corporate or government projects—similar to the medieval church practice of selling “indulgences” to sinners.

The grassroots rebellion against smart meters is indeed taking place and although it may have originated by specific concerns over unnecessary radiation, it may be symptomatic of a much larger problem. For example, the personal data privacy issues around meters have only begun to be recognized and could grow dramatically in the context of emerging revelations about a growing “security state” and flagrant government and corporate spying and lying.

It will likely be left to the people to reinvent the electricity system largely through bottom up community initiatives and disruptive technologies—motivated by the desire for a clean energy future, control of energy costs, economic growth, and local control of environmental health.

Read and download the complete 28-page report here:
“Green Electricity or Green Money” by Timothy Schoechle, PhD (pdf)

or read it on the NISLAPP website

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