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:
- American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity: $1.87M
- National Biodiesel Board: $679,913
- Solar Energy Industries Association: $535,000
- Clean Energy Group: $492,500
- American Wind Energy Assocation: $460,379
- Poet: $360,000
- Rentech: $250,000
- Green Hunter: $220,000
- Noble Environmental Power: $200,000
- GridPoint: $172,061
Data from the Center for Responsive Politics.