Blog Post

Top 10 Alternative Energy Lobbying Groups in 2008

As alternative energy becomes a hot button issue on the campaign trail, trade groups and individual companies in the sector are fighting to have their voices heard on the Hill — and money talks. Up until June 30, 2008, companies that make up the alternative energy production and services sector spent $11.39 million on lobbying, according to the Center for Responsive Politics — a little more than a fifth of what the traditional oil and gas industries spent for the same period at $52.21 million. Still, at that pace, the sector will overtake its lobbying efforts from last year, which totaled $16 million for the year.

The Top 10 alternative energy lobbying groups are largely biofuel, solar and wind trade groups, though the biggest contributor by far is the “American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity,” which is made up by companies that depend on coal to produce power. We guess it’s not surprising that the group with some of the most established and well-funded companies is investing the highest amount in lobbying, but that doesn’t make it less disturbing, as the group is likely trying to maintain its dominant power-producing position. So far this year, the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity gave more than double the amount of the next highest lobbying group.

To us, one of the most surprising on the list is that smart grid “startup” GridPoint has spent $172,061 on lobbying efforts. We know the company has been backed by millions from Goldman Sachs and other investors, but that is a lot of money for a young firm. Wondering what they’re up to? Send over your educated guesses. (We contacted them and are waiting to hear back) Anyhoo, here’s the list:

  1. American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity: $1.87M
  2. National Biodiesel Board: $679,913
  3. Solar Energy Industries Association: $535,000
  4. Clean Energy Group: $492,500
  5. American Wind Energy Assocation: $460,379
  6. Poet: $360,000
  7. Rentech: $250,000
  8. Green Hunter: $220,000
  9. Noble Environmental Power: $200,000
  10. GridPoint: $172,061

Data from the Center for Responsive Politics.

5 Responses to “Top 10 Alternative Energy Lobbying Groups in 2008”

  1. @Katie, please remove “clean coal” as a form of alternative energy from your mind and articles. “Clean coal” is what regular coal companies like to call themselves these days. There are no metrics in place to qualify the cleanliness of converting coal to electricity. A plant can run a tiny sulfer extraction system and call themselves “clean(er)” despite the appalling pollutants remaining in the production electricity and extraction of the coal.

    Furthermore, the cleanest way to use coal (gasification) is still much worse than any of the other major sources of production of electricity.
    That they have to lobby twice as expensively shows how hard it is to push their nasty product.

    “There is no such thing as clean coal,” says James Hansen, NASA’s expert on global warming, who says all coal plants, even TECO’s, still emit millions of tons of carbon dioxide – the most threatening greenhouse gas.

  2. Based on their website, Gridpoint looks to centralize grid management by selling intelligent, embedded network management systems to all the utility companies. The second paragraph on this page of their site is telling:

    “By 2005, the company identified the opportunity for its products to provide electric utilities with control over an intelligent network of distributed load measurement and control devices, energy storage technologies and renewable energy sources, thereby enabling utilities to balance demand and supply in an economical, scaleable and environmentally beneficial manner.”