Open Secrets, a Washington, DC-based lobby watchdog, is reporting that the alternative energy sector spent a record $30 million promoting their industry to lawmakers in the US capitol in 2009.
Writing for Open Secrets, Cassandra LaRussa reports that since 1998, the amount of money the renewable sector has spent on Capitol Hill has grown by a factor of 12.
"The growing involvement of the alternative energy industry in legislative affairs is reflected not just in increased spending, but also in the number of companies and organizations that employ federally registered lobbyists.
In the late 1990s, only about 20 alternative energy industry organizations used federal lobbyists.
By 2009, there were about 200 alternative energy companies and organizations employing lobbyists to help advance the industry’s interests. "
While it is great news that the renewable sector is making the effort to ensure that its concerns are being heard in Washington by lawmakers and government departments, it remains an uphill battle when you consider that their main competitors in the the fossil fuel sector have spent more than two billion dollars on lobbying since 1998.
According to the database maintained by Open Secrets, the combined lobbying expenditures since 1998 of the oil and gas and electric utilities sectors is a whopping $2.3 billion.
In other words, the traditional fossil fuel sector has spent more than twenty-times the money the clean energy sector has when it comes to influencing federal laws and regulations.
The top five spenders last year on lobbying in the oil and gas sector were ExxonMobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, BP and Koch Industries.
The top five spenders in the electric utilities sector were Southern Company, Edison Electric Institute, American Electric Power, PG&E Corp and Duke Energy.
The top five spenders on lobbying in the renewable energy sector were the American Wind Association, Solar Energy Industries Association, Clean Energy Group, the National Biodiesel Board and Growth Energy.
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