Power to the People

That’s the title of my new Carolina Cronyism series report on SB 3 and its costly, regressive renewable portfolio standard. Here is one of the many charts:

Here are a few of the Key Facts from the report:

  • Because electricity is a basic necessity, higher rates are highly regressive. Households with annual incomes of $30,000 per year or less spend as much as one-third of their after-tax income on power bills.
  •  Economists at Beacon Hill Institute estimated that SB 3 will impose net costs on North Carolina in lost jobs, investment, income, and revenues.
  • Instead of developing reliable, efficient, and least-cost sources of electricity, North Carolina’s RPS mandate makes utilities chase arbitrary percentages of handpicked “winner” sources, include some that are extraordinarily inefficient. Solar and wind are exorbitantly expensive, dwarfing conventional sources.
  • Renewable energy sources also require vastly larger amounts of land to produce power equivalent to conventional sources. To produce 1,000 megawatts, wind power would require more land than the cities of Raleigh, Wilmington, and Fayetteville combined.
  • Since the RPS mandate was passed, the energy world has witnessed a revolution in extracting oil and natural gas from shale rock formations. This game-changer cannot be ignored.
  • Furthermore, wind and solar require far, far higher amounts of federal subsidies and land to produce equivalent amounts of power as natural gas.
  • SB 3 should be repealed. A bill before the General Assembly would cap and end the RPS mandate. Ideally, the renewable energy and energy efficiency portfolio standard would be eliminated, and the measure’s Construction Work In Progress section would be struck out. North Carolina policy should support lowest-cost, reliable, and efficient energy sources, which one day could include renewables.

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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