I don’t know about you, but South Carolina’s chilly temperatures have me dreaming of warmer days ahead. Fortunately, things are already heating up at the State House in Columbia with the introduction of new bills in both the House and Senate that are designed to expand access to clean, affordable solar energy and inject much-needed competition into South Carolina’s energy marketplace.
Why does Audubon care about expanding access to solar energy for consumers and businesses? I’m glad you asked! In short, we believe that providing fair market access to responsible, affordable solar energy is great for birds and people alike.
For starters, South Carolina’s burgeoning solar industry supports good-paying jobs, stimulates economic growth and helps attract world-class businesses to the state. It creates much-needed competition in the energy sector and strengthens our energy security by diversifying our energy portfolio. And unlike traditional energy sources, solar power also has the added benefit of coming back online after a disaster just as soon the sun starts shining again—a huge advantage in a state with a history of major storms and flooding.
Fulfilling more of our electricity needs from solar power also means creating less air and water pollution from fossil fuels, which are devastating to avian and human health alike, while limiting risks associated with traditional energy production such as oil spills, gas leaks or nuclear disaster.
Furthermore, Audubon’s research demonstrates the grave threat that changing temperatures, shifting precipitation levels, and rising sea levels pose to birds not just in the future, but right now. As a result, we support expanding access to affordable, responsibly-sited solar and wind power as a means of scaling back carbon emissions and preventing the acceleration of these changes.
As part of the Solar Habitat Act we helped pass into law 2018, we are working closely with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources and solar developers to ensure that solar installations are properly-sited and designed to maximize benefits to wildlife and habitat.
I hope you’ll join us in standing up for access to affordable, responsible solar energy in South Carolina. As a first step, please ask your State Senator to support S. 332, the Clean Energy Access Act. We truly cannot afford to miss this critical opportunity to create forward-looking energy policy in our state.