Incoming City Councilwoman Lisa Middleton said she wants California to lead the charge for renewable energy and Palm Springs can be at the forefront of that effort if city officials advance an ordinance that requires solar panels be included in all major remodeling projects and new residential construction.
Speaking at a gathering in support of solar energy, Middleton said 2,000 permits had been pulled in the last five years for rooftop residential solar panel installation in the city.
“I now look forward to advancing mandatory solar for new construction,” she said Tuesday, the day before she was set to be sworn in as a city council member. “It’s the right way to go.”
The Palm Springs rally coincided with the release of a report by liberal environmental research and lobbying firm, Environment America. It details what it describes as efforts by utility companies – including the Imperial Irrigation District – and fossil fuel-backed groups to stymie the growth of the solar industry.
About 20 local activists, many wearing California Courageous Resistance shirts and toting signs with slogans advocating for solar energy, gathered outside solar panel installation company Hot Purple Energy.
Casey Cousineau of Environment California, which organized the rally, praised the progressive leadership of progressive leaders like Middleton.
“Our solar progress is largely due to strong, forward thinking public policy,” she said.
Previously: Palm Springs officials, religious leaders rally behind clean energy bill
The same group organized a rally outside Palm Springs City Hall in August to support a clean energy bill that had been working its way through the state legislature but was unexpectedly put on hold in September.
Hot Purple Energy owner Nate Otto spoke in support of that bill Tuesday and said the solar industry was growing and solar energy was now cheaper than fossil fuel alternatives, like coal. He said he believed that trend would continue.
“I don’t want to put coal miners out of business,” Otto said. “I want them to work somewhere else.”
Ellen Lockert, founder of Climate Action Palm Springs, said there was a “special place in hell” for people who tried to prevent the pivot to clean energy and said the effects of climate change had already been seen, citing the devastating hurricanes in Puerto Rico and Houston and the wildfires that tore through Napa and Sonoma counties.
Source: Desert Sun