Triangle Business Journal reports on a poll by a group calling itself “Conservatives for Clean Energy” that supposedly finds “strong support for clean energy in NC.”
If you examine the poll questions, which is made rather annoying by a click-through Flash presentation, you will realize something is missing.
It’s the same thing that’s always missing from polls designed to make politicians believe the masses are demanding they be force-fed electricity from solar and other renewable energy sources: How much it is going to cost them to flip on the switch.
I’ve looked at different polls over the past few years. They have found that when costs aren’t a factor, North Carolinians generally and widely favor renewable energy sources. Good on us.
Only Civitas has asked if respondents would still support renewable energy policies if they would have to pay more for electricity. No surprise; they found support dropped like solar output on a cloudy day.
Polls, including this one, show that
North Carolinians have a favorable view in general of renewable energy sources. Civitas shows that they have an unfavorable view of renewable energy sources raising their electricity rates without their say-so.
The price of electricity is the top issue here. It’s not jobs in one portion of one industry, nor the state’s boasted ranking among other states in the number of facilities in that one portion of one industry. The price of electricity affects every person (rich or poor) and every business (big or small) in the state.
Why? Because electricity is a basic household necessity. It’s no luxury good. Playing crony games with state policy to raise the prices of a basic household necessity in order to satisfy the demands of one group is bad governing.
Legislators need to be aware that solar advocates are desperate to get them to pass laws benefiting their industry. They have made it quite plain that their industry cannot survive without ongoing massive state support in the form of subsidies, tax credits, and mandated sales.
So solar advocates are going to tell them:
- Hey, everybody wants more solar power, more, more; conservatives too!
- Hey, solar is a huge industry in North Carolina; jobs, jobs, jobs!
- Hey, solar is growing the economy like crazy; don’t think about these ridiculous numbers, just believe!
They are not going to tell them:
- Look, everyone wants cheaper electricity, cheaper, because it’s getting more expensive and it’s something we all need and have to buy
- Look, solar is a hopelessly more expensive energy source than fossil fuels, and forcing people and businesses to pay more for a basic need drags down the economy and loses jobs
- Look, these solar economic impact numbers are incredible precisely because they are not credible — this study makes a mockery of economics, and we’re not even kidding
There’s a reason the solar advocates steer clear of those issues. It’s because they — unlike legislators — are advocates for the one industry, not for general ratepaying public nor for all industries.