Another crony begs lawmakers to keep paying them for unsustainable energy

North Carolina’s renewable energy cronies are supposedly threatened by the frightful prospect that the legislature might decide to (gasp) cap the renewable energy portfolio standards (REPS) mandate and study whether it’s a good idea.

Aside: good heavens, if that in itself doesn’t alert people to the scam, what will? The industry will come crashing down if the state doesn’t force people to buy an increasing amount of their electricity from it, and whatever you do, don’t double-check to make sure it’s a responsible policy?

Fortunately for the special interests, the moneyed interests, the big business getting in bed with legislators for special favors (where are the media? oh, in the same bed), the prolonged budget disagreement is giving them time to put all their money and ever-growing phalanx of lobbyists to use.

Their strategy? Trot out a different recipient crony every day to do the Oliver Twist act to get maximum media sympathy.

Today it’s big hog farms, wallowing in positive media for apparently the first time in their history. Yeah, apparently the hog industry is green now. Years of being lambasted by environmentalists and vegetarians and the generally anticapitalist Left, they’re now those same people’s darlings.

Somehow, forcing poor people to pay them to burn crap for energy like an impoverished Third World scroungling has turned Big Hog into a Clean Green Crony Machine.

The crony-friendly News & Observer reports:

North Carolina’s pork producers are urging state lawmakers not to tinker with a 2007 renewable energy law that requires electric utilities to tap hog manure as a fuel source to generate electricity.

Pork industry officials say they are getting close to turning swine waste into an economically viable fuel and repeated attempts to undo the law will scare off investors from financing these projects.

That mean it’s too damned expensive and they have no idea when it will ever be competitive with traditional fuel sources so they absolutely must have the state force utilities — i.e., poor ratepayers — to buy from them.

Because, as is always the unstated assumption in articles on renewable energy policies, the most important thing in the world is keeping the unsustainable industry afloat. Poor captive ratepayers with their need for low-cost, reliable electricity at the flip of the switch are pawns in the big game. Can they give political donations? Can they send in hordes of glad-handing and big-smiling lobbyists? What can they do but just try to make ends meet, and that’s not helping anyone but themselves (so greedy!).

Continuing:

North Carolina, one of the nation’s top hog growers, is the only state in the country that requires hog manure to be used as a fuel source for generating electricity.

Forty-nine other states and the District of Columbia would say North Carolina is the only state dumb enough to require burning pig crap for energy. How’s that working so far?

So far, however, the state has been unable to meet its swine waste energy goals, and electric utilities are expected to request next month that the targets be postponed yet again, for a fourth year in a row.

And get this!

Subsidy rates for animal waste are confidential because they are privately negotiated between utilities and renewables developers, but they are often not acceptable to Duke Energy Progress and Duke Energy Carolinas.

They must be really bad if they can’t tell us how much it costs and it’s still too expensive.

But of course the “conservative,” “capitalist,” “free-market,” and [whatever else we can call ourselves to trick a legislator or twelve] lobbyists for the rate-hiking, jobs-killing REPS mandate will say it’s better for your electricity bill.

They’ll say anything they have to, because they know they just have to work a little longer at the General Assembly in order to keep people forced to be their “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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