22 Jun 2012

Can ‘Energy Fact Check’ from ACORE balance fossil-vs-renewables debate?

Written by Jim Pierobon

Acknowledging that opponents of renewable energy “are dominating the conversation” and asserting they are doing so “through misrepresentation, exaggeration, distraction and millions of dollars in lobbying and advertising,” the American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE) is launching EnergyFactCheck.org to “help ensure that the facts about our industry are front and center.”

With those stated aspirations, how far ACORE and its President and CEO Vice Admiral Dennis McGinn can go in taking on the likes of Big Oil, Big Coal, Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and the Koch Brothers et. al. remains to be seen. Without a huge war chest, let’s hope ACORE, in the interest of a more balanced energy debate, can meet the high expectations it’s setting for the effort.

ACORE communications chief Turner Houston said the FactCheck site has been in the works for more than a year. As someone who has worked at and for ACORE, this was no small task especially considering the dozens of organizations backing it up.

To be sure, ACORE has its work cut out for itself. The U.S. is struggling to climb out of the recession. Low natural gas prices are making cost-comparisons everĀ  more difficult.

Further complicating the effort is U.S. clean tech spending will decline 75 percent by 2014, from a high of $44.3 billion in 2009. Absent new policy actions such as extension of the production tax credit for wind energy systems, money for deployment of clean energy technologies could zap much of the momentum built up since President Obama took office.

Among other information at EnergyFactCheck.org, users can find:

  • answers to what ACORE thinks are the most common or newsworthy claims against renewables — backed up in each case by sources;
  • direct links to infographics, videos and other multimedia resources for downloads and posting;
  • a list of experts in the industry; and
  • a searchable database of the most recent and relevant government and third-party studies and analyses of renewable energy in the U.S.

Within two days of its formal launch, @EnergyFactCheck registered about 340 followers on Twitter. Not a bad start.

For everyone’s sake, let’s hope ACORE can move the ‘needle’ back toward the center.

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