Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Sid Salter: Presley’s New Private-Sector Solar Energy Venture has an Interesting Political Frame

 Brandon Presley’s new post-election employment in the private sector solar energy business has some interesting political framing. The announcement of the 2023 Democratic Party gubernatorial nominee and longtime Northern District Public Service commissioner’s new gig made a splash in green energy circles around the country.

Lexington, Kentucky-based Edelen Renewables announced this week that Presley would join the company as vice president of strategic initiatives for the solar development firm working out of a newly established Mississippi office. The company said Presley would “utilize his expertise and national reputation as an elected official and utility regulator” to advance Edelen’s mission “to bring the promise of renewable energy to the forgotten places of America.”

The firm touts “advancing several utility and commercial solar scale projects in 12 states” and defines on their website ( a rather unique focus for their operations: “From Appalachia to Nations, Tribes, and Pueblos, we are bringing the promise of renewable energy to the forgotten places, where coal miners and oil and gas workers powered the industrial development of America for a century. Squaring that deal – putting displaced energy workers back to work in a new, greener economy – is our passion.”

Presley, the former two-term Nettleton mayor, failed in his 2023 bid to unseat incumbent Republican Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves by a margin of 50.97 % to 47.70% with independent Gwendolyn Grey taking 1.36% of the vote, spent most of his public life in Mississippi on the PSC from 2008 to 2024.

During his PSC tenure, Presley chaired the PSC from 2016 to 2020 and presided over the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) in 2019.

 In announcing Presley’s hiring, company founder and CEO Adam Edelen said: “For Brandon, it’s all about giving folks a shot at the American dream. His commitment to that mission, his expertise in the energy space, and his stature as a nationally recognized utility regulator and public servant make him an ideal leader in our company. As we strive to expand the green energy winners’ circle, Brandon will lead much of our engagement, from utility executives and policymakers to community leaders working to bring modern economic opportunity to their hometowns.”

Presley weighed in on the new venture as well: “Getting this country to energy independence, while creating good jobs for good people in hard-luck communities has been my focus (at the PSC) in Mississippi. The opportunity to build upon my service as President of NARUC and take that mission across America is too good to pass up.”

Politicos across the state and nation will recognize the Edelen name in Democratic Party circles. Adam Edelen served a term as Kentucky’s elected state auditor from 2012 to 2016 after serving as chief of staff to Democratic Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear. Edelen was defeated in a re-election bid in 2015 by Republican Mike Harmon.

In 2019, Edelen ran third in Kentucky’s Democratic gubernatorial primary behind eventual winner Andy Beshear, who was re-elected to a second term as Kentucky’s governor in 2023.

Anyone familiar with the Loretta Lynn standard “Coal Miner’s Daughter” can appreciate a novel part of Edelen’s strategy and vision for solar energy in coal-producing Kentucky and beyond. Edelen is building large solar farms on reclaimed coal strip mines and working with coal companies to get it done.

In eastern Kentucky in Martin County, Edelen brought his concept to fruition near the famous Van Leer Mine where Loretta Lynn’s father toiled in Johnson County, Ky., in the form of a $231 million coal-to-solar project. In 2022, The New York Times visited the Edelen coal-to-solar project in some of the poorest areas of Appalachia and pronounced it promising both for green energy and producing jobs where coal production has “flatlined.”

Edelen, the Kentucky Democrat, said of Mississippi Democrat Presley: “He’s simply the right guy, with the right skills and experience to have a massive impact as we advance our mission. His future is bright. I’m thrilled he’ll continue his public service with us.” 

The “public service” reference should give those watching the state’s future elections pause. Mississippi voters likely haven’t heard the last of Presley.

Sid Salter is a syndicated columnist. Contact him at



Anonymous said...

What has the guy ever done beyond being a relative of Elvis?

Don Drane said...

After getting this taste of the Devil's Wine (and the money it brings him), we won't need to bother with him slumming around for any job in Mississippi from now on. He's the newest rising star on the democrat plantation.

In fact, he may now be positioned to take the torch from Al Gore.

Nettleton may even gain a commercial air-strip.

Anonymous said...

It figures that he is in bed with the "green new deal" types. Ask him where all of the used solar panels are disposed. Ask him about the forced laborers and slaves that manufacture solar panels.

Anonymous said...

Newshawk Sid in his trench coat and fedora with a press pass tucked in the band, out pounding the streets of his beat with his nose for news again. This is how legacy journalism is done.

Anonymous said...

What has the guy ever done beyond being a relative of Elvis?

Does he play the git tar?

Anonymous said...

Presley weighed in on the new venture as well: “Getting this country to energy independence, while creating good jobs for good people in hard-luck communities has been my focus (at the PSC) in Mississippi.

Neither of these goals was the job of the Mississippi PSC.

Anonymous said...

The thing about solar is that nobody touches it unless they are paid handsomely. All these solar fields in MS built by the power companies and cooperatives were made possible by millions from the federal purse. The federal push for solar is one part technology and nine parts ideology. There's no way the local poweor companies would have done it with their own budgets. Solar has so many drawbacks and the industry is divided as to whether it has any viable place in the grid. The more reliant a community is on solar, the greater the calamity when it goes down or stops working. And as sure as the sun rises, it will be going down and not working - more often than the consumers like.

Anonymous said...

I like that part about him working in the "forgotten places of America."
I have some suggestions

Anonymous said...

The Chris McDaniels of the Democratic Party. Too soon?

Anonymous said...

We had "energy independence" under President Trump, but Biden (Obama?) turned that around in his first week.

Anonymous said...

I've had to deal with Presley for years. He's a big liberal con artist. Hold your wallet when you are around him. Government needs fewer Brandon Presleys, not more.

Anonymous said...

The more reliant a community is on solar, the greater the calamity when it goes down or stops working.

Anonymous said...

As with Bennie, I'd challenge him to list any jobs he's brought to Mississippi.

Of course, though, everybody and his brother lined up for a photo op taking some sort of credit for the new Madison County announcement. Even our favorite 'mid day radio host'.

Anonymous said...

He's not a bad guy. If he had run as Independant I would have considered voting for him, which I told him, but with the DNC money strings are attached.

Anonymous said...

Looks like the old grumps hit all the talking points this morning.

I like how you guys suddenly become environmentalists and human rights activists BUT ONLY WHEN it refers to alternative energy.

Big Oil and Gas thanks you for your service. If you've ever been to an oil field you would know environmentalism has never been the play.

Anonymous said...

@11:30 Agreed. I work in environmental cleanup. The oil/gas business, from drill sites to the gas station, is what keeps us employed. People who bitch about the environmental issues associated with renewables haven't got the first clue about the environmental damage caused by the oil/gas business on a daily basis. They also don't realize that they are paying almost 100k people - just in the U.S. - to clean up the messes made primarily by the petro industry. (It's paid through taxes on fuels, increased prices on products, and of course, tax breaks and subsidies to the oil companies.) Everything we do has an environmental impact, but the impact from solar is almost negligible compared to the oil industry. Oil industry cleanup has paid my mortgage, college for my kids, and there is no end in site. Let the idiots keep posting the memes and slogans promoting big oil and denigrating renewables. Me and big oil are lauging all the way to the bank.

Anonymous said...

@ 11:30 & 1:53 - So, the argument in favor of the monstrously stupid New Green Deal is that sometimes oil spills have to be cleaned up and you even have to occasionally sprinkle some cat litter near a gasoline pump. What a crock of shit. Clean THAT up.

Anonymous said...

Why does Sidney find Presley's solar politics "interesting"? All hippy energy is political theater.

Anonymous said...

@11:10 I disagree. I've known him for many years. I don't trust him. He's not a good guy at all. He just tells you what you want to hear, and he spins a great yarn.

Anonymous said...

@10:15 the US energy output is at its highest levels ever , Trump and Biden had absolutely nothing to do with it. Since 2005 shale oil production and green energy projects have led the way and continue to do so. Don’t believe Fox and big oil, they are blowing, drilling , pumping , and dumping more waste water than ever.

Anonymous said...

@2:46 I never said that I was in favor of the New Green Deal. In fact, it runs counter to my financial interests. But consider this: One, medium-sized, oil spill (Exxon Valdez) drove three commercial fishing species to extinction and put thousands of Alaskan families who depended on fishing for their livelihoods out of business. When have renewables done that? You think all that needs to happen is to spread a little kitty litter? The petroleum industry has leaks and spills at every well site, every pipeline that leads to and from a refinery, and virtually every place that petroleum products are stored or used. We have contaminated soil and groundwater, including drinking water aquifers, in tens of thousands of locations - just in the U.S. Trust me: Kitty litter doesn't fix that.

Then we burn it and produce roughly 20 pounds of carbon dioxide for every gallon burned. Petroleum has advanced society to where it is today. I am grateful for where it has taken us as a nation and a species, and I am grateful that I have made my living from it. At the same time, I recognize that it is killing us, and, if we don't find a better way, we're F@#$ed!

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Sid, for a very good and informative column on the background of the Presley hire. I consider myself well informed but did not know much of this info.

Anonymous said...

February 15, 2024 at 8:48 AM, we're all going to die anyway, what's the big deal?

Anonymous said...

@4:47 - Those who post pure, unadulterated bullshit never do use their real name. Funny how that works on a blog.

Anonymous said...

8:48 - Peddle that hockey to the windmill industry.

Anonymous said...


If you're saying oil provides more dependable energy but it comes at a price then I call that "the cost of doing business" and I'll willingly pay my part every time.

Anonymous said...

Has Presley's wife yet picked out the paint color for the Destin walls?

There is ALWAYS negotiation when a job offer is on the table.

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If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

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