Local Solar Business Leaders and Veterans Call on Sen. Portman to Grow Ohio’s Clean Energy Economy & Support the Clean Power Plan



Support the Clean Power Plan

Columbus, OH – On Tuesday, September 22, solar business leaders Geoff Greenfield and Mathew O’Brien of Third Sun Solar, solar homeowner Dr. Matthew Taylor and veteran Allen Zak urged Senator Portman to start voting to support the Clean Power Plan because of what it means for the booming clean energy economy and national security.

The Clean Power Plan was finalized on August 3, and puts in place the nation’s first ever limits on carbon pollution from power plants while providing incentives for investments in wind, solar and other sources of clean energy.

“Make no mistake, climate disruption is a national security matter and poses grave threats to the economic stability of all American families,” said veteran Allen Zak. “That’s why it’s time for all of Ohio’s representatives in Congress to tackle the climate crisis and support the Clean Power Plan.”

Power plants are the single largest source of carbon pollution in the United States– responsible for 40 percent of the dangerous pollutant being pumped into our air. Carbon pollution fuels climate change, which the Department of Defense last year declared to be a “strategic threat” with major security implications for the United States.

Despite the fact that a majority of Ohioans support the Clean Power Plan, U.S. Senator Portman has voted against a burgeoning Ohio clean energy economy and clean air in Congress multiple times. That includes by introducing an amendment that would enable states to scrap the protections of the Clean Power Plan.

Congress has a key role to play in providing funding for all Environmental Protection Agency programs, and Senator Portman can show his support for the Clean Power Plan in the future by ensuring that the resources necessary for this program are secured in full.

“Taking action on climate provides Ohioans opportunities to use cleaner energy, grow our economy and protect the health of our families,” said Geoff Greenfield, President of Third Sun Solar. “We urge Senator Portman to start voting in support of the Clean Power Plan.”

Also See:

Department of Defense sees Climate Change as strategic threat:

Majority of Americans support the Clean Power Plan:





Solar for National Security

Veterans Group Cites National Security in Debate Over Changing Ohio’s Renewable Energy Standards, Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Opponents are lining up to voice their opinion on a proposal [SB58] to change Ohio’s energy efficiency laws. The bill’s sponsor, Republican Sen. Bill Seitz of Cincinnati, says the measure simply reforms existing policies, but others say the bill will weaken efficiency standards [spelled out in SB221].

[The Ohio Manufacturer’s Association has come out in opposition to SB58.]

Critics have slammed the proposed law, saying it’ll lead to higher utility bills and less investment in efficiency projects.

Zach Roberts, an Ohio Air National Guard veteran, has a different take on the issue. Roberts is now the Ohio director of Operation Free, a national campaign that gathers veterans to advocate for clean energy policies. The group says the advancement of clean energy is in the best interest of national security.

Roberts says reliable and long-lasting energy resources overseas is important for the safety of the troops. He adds that that same kind of reliability is needed on the state level.

“In the event we have catastrophes in Ohio, whether they’re man-made or nature, the National Guard is often times the first ones who are called to respond. We are part of the first responder community,” Robert’s said, “And it’s incredibly difficult for the National Guard to respond to domestic issues if we’re having our own issues with energy being supplied to the bases.”

Some say the bill could weaken the efficiency standards that utilities must follow. It also proposes a repeal of the Buy Ohio provision which requires utilities to obtain a certain amount of renewable energy from Ohio-based projects.

Roberts says these changes could destabilize the civilian grid on which military bases also rely.

Republican Sen. Cliff Hite represents the Findlay area which has several pending efficiency projects. He wants to hear about every possible outcome to changing the state’s energy policies because of the impact it could have on these projects.

Hite agrees that it’s important to reevaluate the state’s policies. With the major push for natural gas development and the recovering economy, Hite says the legislature should make sure the policies created in 2008 are still working with today’s changing energy environment.

“Are there cost savings for the taxpayers and the ratepayers in the state of Ohio? Have we made progress? Are many of these projects being beneficial? Are they creating jobs?” Hite said, “All these different things…This bill has definitely raised a lot of those questions and more. And we just need to get the bottom of it, find out exactly not only where we’re at, but where we want to go with this.”

As a veteran, Roberts says he’s also concerned about the amount of clean energy jobs that could be lost if the standards were to pass. He says these are jobs that members of the military can fit into after serving overseas.

Geoff Greenfield on Diane Rehm Show

Diane Rehm Logo

On Wednesday, June 5 Geoff Greenfield participated in a segment of the Diane Rehm Show (national NPR, WOUB in Athens, Ohio). The segment topic was “America’s Energy Future Beyond Oil and Gas” and the participants included Christine Todd Whitman of the CASEnergy Coalition, former governor of New Jersey and former administrator of the EPA; Rhone Resch of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA); Robert Gramlich of American Wind Energy Association; and Coral Davenport of National Journal. The full transcript is available here.


All right. To Athens, Ohio. Good morning, Geoff.


Hi. Good morning, Diane.


Hi there. Go ahead, please.


Thanks, Diane. First off, I’m a big fan, and thanks a lot for focusing your show on this important subject.


Indeed. You’re welcome.


So 14 years ago, we started Third Sun Solar. We’re a solar company here in Ohio. We’re what you’d call an installation business. We work on residential rooftops and commercial buildings across the Midwest. Right now, it’s a beautiful sunny day here, and our crews are out on the job today building clean power plants and earning a great living. So these are the jobs that really can’t be shifted overseas.

The part of the solar value chain that has to be local is on the rooftop and out in the solar, you know, field. So I’m wondering why we don’t hear as much about this incredible opportunity for economic development and job creation that solar and wind power present.




Well, there’s over 120,000 people employed in the [solar industry in the] United States today. And the great thing about solar, you create more jobs per megawatt than any other energy technology out there. So you really have a confluence of both energy policy, environmental policy and economic policy when you’re growing the solar industry. And as Geoff points out, these are small businesses, right?

These are the backbone of our economy. These are roofers, electricians, plumbers. But those were let go by the housing industry starting a new business. You know, Third Sun Solar is a great example of somebody coming out of the housing and electricity industry and creating a solar business that’s thriving in creating jobs.


And you’re listening to “The Diane Rehm Show.” Gov. Whitman, you wanted to say something.