Conservatives Say Bring the Renewable Energy, Leave the Climate Talk

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Conservative states are getting attention for embracing renewable energy while avoiding the language of climate change this week after The Economist profiled several Texas wind ranchers as to point out “lessons for liberals.”

The ranchers say it’s simple economics: cattle returns $8 per acre, deer hunting bumps up to $15 per acre, and wind farming is in the hundreds of dollars per acre.

Texas has been gaining wind generation notoriety for a while, now. At least as far back as 2015, journalists have been pointing to the energy generation shift in conservative Texas.

“We rarely talked about the environment,” recalls Michael Osborne, co-founder of the Texas Renewable Energy Industries Alliance (TREIA) and developer of the state’s first wind farm in the early 1990s. “We talked about farmers and ranchers getting rich on windmills.”

Avoiding the loaded language has been an enduring theme for conservative buy in.

The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) passed in August, 2022, Republican-led states including Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and Tennessee seem to see the opportunity to benefit financially through the energy transition.

The lesson some are pointing to: it’s not required to convince climate skeptics to change their minds in order to promote clean energy.

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