The renewable energy lobby and the N&O’s strong editorial against an industry seeking self-interested breaks

The N.C. Sustainable Energy Association is advertising on Facebook and presumably elsewhere to have people thank state senators responsible for SB 447. The bill would satisfy the solar industry’s big need: keep handing out huge tax credits for investing in solar.

The 35% — thirty-five percent! — tax credit for investing in solar is supposed to sunset at the end of this year. By now, see, the industry was supposed to be up and running like an actual, sustainable corporate endeavor.

Instead, solar is hopelessly dependent upon government handouts, massive state and federal subsidies, forced utility purchase via renewable portfolio standards mandates, and other schemes. They can’t compete in a market environment, and they know it.

The solar lobby has made no secret of their utter dependence on government. Their business model is based on receiving government subsidies. They proudly proclaim it, then pretend their government welfare really is about “jobs.”

N&O stakes out a position against cronyism

On Sunday, the News & Observer issued an indignant editorial about legislation “catering to” industry (headline), an “industry [that] continues to seek self-interested breaks in North Carolina” (subhead). “Here we go again,” the editors begin with exasperation, decrying the industry “going all out in this legislative session – for its own interests.”

It’s refreshing to hear the N&O editors coming out foursquare against cronyism. It’s about time, too.

They talk about recent legislation favorable to the industry, which they describe as “concessions,” and denounce the new bill thus: “This legislation is an outrageous bow to an industry with political clout.”

Amen! It’s about time!

It gets even better. The editors bring an almost unheard-of skepticism to jobs claims:

It’s a jobs bill, all right. It’s doing a job on taxpayers.

Preach it!

Of course, the editors aren’t talking about the solar lobby, its blatant efforts going all out in seeking its own self-interest at the legislature, its political clout, and its ridiculous jobs claims. Oh no, they lap that stuff up like a starving cat does cream.

No, they’re upset about cutting state regulations on billboards. This “outrageous bow” doesn’t even rise to the level of giving the industry huge tax incentives and purchase mandates.

So:

 

Jon Sanders / Director of Regulatory Studies

Jon Sanders studies regulatory policy, a veritable kudzu of invasive government and unintended consequences. As director of regulatory studies at the John Locke Foundation, Jo...

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