How Duke gets in-state renewable credits for out-of-state hog waste

First, Duke would pay to have anaerobic digesters extract biogas from swine waste in the Midwest. The biogas, which would be indistinguishable from natural gas, would be injected into pipelines hundreds of miles from here. Duke would then claim renewable credits for an equivalent amount of natural gas taken from pipelines here to generate electricity for North Carolina households and businesses.
“In this case, the electricity is being produced in North Carolina,” said Duke spokesman Randy Wheeless.
— “N.C. pork lobby objects to Duke Energy swine waste proposal,” The News & Observer, 7/10/15

I can’t get over this. Duke Energy, which regularly hits the full 25 percent capped allotment of out-of-state renewable energy credits (RECs) every year because it’s cheaper than in-state, may have figured out how to turn out-of-state RECs into in-state RECs, at least with respect to pig crap:

  1. Pay to have the out-of-state pig crap converted to gas
  2. Put the pig crap gas in a pipeline halfway across the country, then take natural gas from the pipeline here
  3. Burn that here
  4. Burnish clean & green bona fides of supplanting fossil fuel with “domestic” biofuel, while … burning fossil fuel

It’s genius, I tell you, breathtakingly genius. Imagine that kind of creative imagination being put to use in a market-based industry instead of one based on winning legislators instead of customers.

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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