NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Renewable Energy: Lobby's Report More Fog Than Light

August 5, 2015

Three of the four drivers of higher electricity costs in North Carolina are because of the state's renewable energy mandates, according to a report circulated among lawmakers by the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA). They include renewable energy investments by utilities, the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standards (REPS) mandate, and demand-side management/energy efficiency programs.

Specifically, the report and other studies find:

  • North Carolina's rates have increased more than 2.5 times the national average increase since 2008, which is the year when REPS took effect.
  • The costs of complying with the Clean Smokestacks Bill have skyrocketed. This bill has been in effect since near the beginning of the rat hikes.
  • The effects of REPS so far have only measured the initial implementation, which as of 2014 only affected six percent of electricity sales. By 2021, REPS will affect 12.5 percent.
  • REPS is estimated to cost 3,592 jobs, $58.6 million in disposable income and $140.4 million in real GDP.
  • It is practically impossible for the non-dispatchable renewable resources of solar and wind to be actually cheaper than traditional resources of coal, nuclear and natural gas.
  • The energy conversation currently ignores cheap natural gas options found in shale.

In North Carolina, electricity consumers have no choice in their electricity provider. This fact should, first of all, never provide an excuse to use this lack of a free market to enrich special interests at the expense of captive ratepayers. State leaders should return North Carolina to this standard of least-cost, reliable power.

Source: Jon Sanders, "Renewable Energy: Lobby's Report More Fog than Light," John Locke Foundation, June 4, 2015.


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