Lifelong Republican questions attacks on renewable energy

Hopefully the beginning of a movement:

In Forsyth County where I live, we have more than 75 renewable energy projects, including biomass and solar on corporate, residential, educational and government properties or projects producing power that’s sold directly to a utility. We also have 45 EnergyStar certified buildings and 27 LEED-certified buildings. Clean energy is an engine to create jobs and generate much-needed investment in all 100 counties of North Carolina.

Americans for Prosperity (AFP) held a “Free the Grid Tour” event in Winston-Salem last week about the “power struggle” in North Carolina, inviting the community to “return power to the people.” However, they’re also calling for the repeal of the REPS law — and the resulting market competition. As a free-market issue, how can AFP and other clean-energy critics want to return power to the people, but strip them of our state’s limited market competition and choice?

The answer is simple, really. AFP was created and is funded by the fossil fuel industry, and renewable energy is a direct threat to their profit margins. You don't need one of the Koch Industries' leaky pipelines to run a Solar farm or a biomass facility, and energy-efficient buildings reduce the 'load" demand on coal and natural gas power plants. What happened recently in Asheville is a prime example. Duke Energy was given permission to build two nat gas power plants, but their 3rd "backup" plant was rejected as not necessary:

The report notes that such a plant would only take two years to build once it’s approved, which would allow plenty of time for it to be permitted later, should the expected need materialize by the projected date of 2024.

“Not granting a (certificate) for the additional … unit will allow time for advances in generation, transmission and storage technologies that may provide other least costly resource options for the Company to consider …,” the report said.

One of the two signatories on the recommendation, Utilities Commission Electric Division Director James McLawhorn, talked with Carolina Public Press by telephone Wednesday about their reasoning. “Other technologies could advance and become more mainstream during that time period,” he said.

Back in 2007 when the REPS was being crafted and debated, energy efficiency was projected to play an important role in the overall package. I must admit, I was skeptical, but it has turned out to be the most effective single element, and it has also allowed Solar and other actual generation methods the ability to supply the baseload what it needs to keep up with demand. All of these things are anathema to industry front groups like Americans For Prosperity, and they will do everything in their power to reverse this progress.

Tags: