Wind turbines slowly spin in the wind at the High Sheldon Wind Farm, Photo: Julie Jacobson / AP

A group called New Energy America is launching today that will promote renewable energy industry jobs in rural regions nationwide, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: The group, which is funded by renewable energy companies, could influence lawmakers in red-leaning areas amid policy battles that affect wind, solar, biofuels, and other sectors.

"The point is to make sure there is accountability in places where clean energy jobs are growing, but elected officials are voting against policies that can support the growth of clean energy," a source familiar with the group's planning tells Axios.

Who they are: Mike Carr, who was a senior Energy Department renewables official under President Obama, is the executive director. Kendra Kostek, who was an aide to Hillary Clinton's presidential run, is director of public engagement.

  • Advisory board members include former longtime California Democratic congressman George Miller, who chaired the House Education and Labor Committee; and Jon Powers, co-founder of the solar investment firm CleanCapital and was the federal chief sustainability officer under Obama.

Opening move: They're releasing a report today that provides a state-by-state tally of jobs in fossil fuels versus renewable power sources like wind and solar, biofuels and energy efficiency. It finds that these "clean energy" and efficiency jobs combined already outnumber fossil fuel employment in 41 states.

What's next: Going forward, the source tells Axios that the group will engage in many areas that affect renewables and efficiency, such as: the fate of EPA's Clean Power Plan; tax credits for renewable power projects; solar trade policy; federal spending decisions; and work on grid reliability at the Energy Department and FERC. (Editor's note: there's concern in the renewables world that the Trump administration's focus on "reliability" is a stalking horse for attacking pro-renewables policies or propping up coal and nuclear.)

They're also likely to engage at the state level on topics such as proposed legislation in California to transition to all-renewable power in coming decades; state-based renewable power mandates and more. The push in rural areas and red states will involve grassroots work as well and digital and earned media campaigns, the source said.

In their words:

"The electricians installing solar panels, the welders building wind turbines, and the truck drivers delivering biofuels all benefit from policies that promote clean energy, and we're here to tell their stories," Carr said.

Go deeper

Updated 35 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 8 p.m. ET: 19,497,292 — Total deaths: 723,854 — Total recoveries — 11,823,105Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 8 p.m. ET: 4,994,276 — Total deaths: 162,381 — Total recoveries: 1,643,118 — Total tests: 61,080,587Map.
  3. Politics: Trump signs 4 executive actions on coronavirus aid.
  4. Public health: Fauci says chances are "not great" that COVID-19 vaccine will be 98% effective — 1 in 3 Americans would decline COVID-19 vaccine.
  5. Science: Indoor air is the next coronavirus frontline.
  6. Schools: How back-to-school is playing out in the South as coronavirus rages on — Princeton, Johns Hopkins, Howard to hold fall classes online.

Trump signs 4 executive actions on coronavirus aid

President Trump speaking during a press conference on Aug. 8. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump on Saturday signed four executive actions to provide relief from economic damage sustained during the coronavirus pandemic after talks between the White House and Democratic leadership collapsed Friday afternoon.

Why it matters: Because the Constitution gives Congress the power to appropriate federal spending, Trump has limited authority to act unilaterally — and risks a legal challenge if congressional Democrats believe he has overstepped.

8 hours ago - World

What's next for Lebanon after the Beirut explosion

Photo: Houssam Shbaro/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Beirut residents are still clearing rubble from streets that appear war-torn, days after a blast that shocked the country and horrified the world.

Why it matters: The explosion is likely to accelerate a painful cycle Lebanon was already living through — discontent, economic distress, and emigration.