The Dee & Paul Show: Selling the NCGOP on solar welfare

I saw this carnival sideshow being promoted on Twitter.  It appears at least one of John Hood’s troops made it for a first-hand look-see:

Two highly regarded Republican political consultants told an audience of state lawmakers, lobbyists, and renewable-energy entrepreneurs Tuesday they should consider government intervention into the renewable energy market a “slam dunk” conservative issue that wins at the ballot box.

“There’s a lot of talk that goes on in the legislative building about different energy policies that are proposed,” said Dee Stewart. “But when a lawmaker supports policies that are conducive to the expansion of clean energy options it’s a winner across the board.”[…]

And NOW, we’re going to say something with as straight of a face as we can: *This has almost nothing to do with trying to squeeze more coin out of the FAT wallet of Charlotte gazillionaire and solar enthusiast Jay Faison.(Um, almost nothing.)* 

Wait, there’s more:

[…] Stewart and fellow GOP consultant Paul Shumaker, principals of the Raleigh-based consulting firm Strategic Partners Solutions, presented results of a new renewable energy poll conducted on behalf of Conservatives for Clean Energy at the City Club Raleigh.

Conservatives for Clean Energy is an advocate for wind and solar energy, calling renewables a free-market competitor to traditional fossil fuels.

The poll asked if respondents would support increasing the mandate forcing public utilities to buy renewable energy from 12.5 percent of their power mix to 25 percent by 2021. Twenty-five percent is the national average for states with Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards.[…]

North Carolina is THE ONLY southeastern state has mandates for renewable energy in place.  Virginia has “goals”.  South Carolina and Tennessee have NOTHING.

MORE:

[…] During a post-event interview, Stewart defended that concept of short-term, government-led investment in private markets for long-term gain.

“There are some conservatives who just flat believe the government shouldn’t be involved in all kinds of industries, and all kinds of decisions,” Stewart said.

“There are other conservatives, the majority, I believe, who believe that if something is a good investment the government ought to invest in it, and government ought to be an encourager of good ideas, and of innovation, and of small business owners, and of lower costs in the future,” Stewart said.[…]

There is no evidence, anywhere in history, where government intervention in an industry has resulted in lower costs and increased efficiency.  (This sounds a lot like how Obama and the Democrats lobbied for ObamaCare.  Just replace “solar mandates” with “The Affordable Care Act.”)

MORE:

[…] “The big takeaway [for politicians] is that renewables are not the bad guys in the room, and that if you want to make them into the bad guys you are only going to marginalize the support you’re going to get” because renewable energy has deep bipartisan support, Shumaker said.

He told lawmakers they must make decisions that put them in position to be leaders managing the policy issues that will shape the future “so you’re able to keep your majority, stay in control, and win elections.”

That strategy is “going to become a more daunting task” as voter ideology continues to shift statewide from very conservative toward the political center due to an influx of unaffiliated voters from out of state who support clean energy initiatives, Shumaker said.

Here’s a pretty good piece from Forbes making it painfully clear that solar will never, never, never, never, ever replace coal:

[…] But keep in mind that both wind and solar have to overcome the challenge of geography — developers install systems in the most windy and sunny spots first. The worse the location, the more panels or windmills you need to get the same amount of electricity. That’s why it’s less important how many megawatts of solar capacity gets installed, and more important how much actual electricity that gets generated by those panels.

For all the talk of “grid parity” the simple reality is that even combined with far more power generation from natural gas, renewable alternatives will need decades to push out coal. And the irony will be that as demand for coal lessens, it will become cheaper and cheaper, making it even more attractive for the coal-burning power plants that survive the coming cull.[…] 

Solar is great as a backup source.  But what do you do in places that tend to be more overcast — i.e., Alaska, The Dakotas — than others? Also, the news is filled with horror stories from Europe about sky-rocketing energy costs related to solar power, as well as rolling brownouts and blackouts thanks to solar power. 

But back to Dee & Paul and — oh, look — Nelson Dollar:

State Rep. Nelson Dollar, R-Wake, said his district polls 70 percent in support of renewable energy issues, which became part of his 2016 primary election against challenger Mark Villee.

“The other side had an organization that went door to door, and they attacked on that issue, and they lost,” Dollar said.[…]

He carefully leaves out the fact that his selfish legislative agenda – aimed primarily at filling his pockets and pleasing his big donors – earned him tough primary and general election opponents that drained precious caucus and party resources away from other, more needy incumbents.  (See, for starters, Avila, Marilyn and Pendleton, Gary.)

Here’s Locke’s Jon Sanders delivering quite the education to Dee, Paul and Nelson:

[…]
“The main takeaway from this poll is this: When consumer costs aren’t part of the discussion, North Carolinians favor renewable energy sources,” and more options, said Jon Sanders, director of regulatory studies at the John Locke Foundation.

“The challenge for a poll to promote government favoritism and increasing purchase mandates for their special interest is to make those things sound like choice and competition. This poll manages that by hiding the costs to consumers and withholding other information from respondents as needed,” Sanders said.

One poll question references 34,000 jobs created by the renewable industry, but Sanders said research by economists at the Beacon Hill Institute found renewable energy policies would create a net loss of nearly 3,600 jobs by 2021. Others have taken issue with the job creation claims as well.

Sanders pointed out the “tightrope that the special-interest poll tries to walk” in asking for the No. 1 cause of rising electricity rates in North Carolina, and offering only a handful of possible responses.

Strong pluralities selected “higher profits” and “lack of competition.” Only 10.3 percent blamed renewable mandates.

But, Sanders said, “This is an opinion question,” to which he offered a rebuttal:

North Carolina’s electricity rates are falling because of lowering fuel costs, primarily the decreasing cost of natural gas.
The cost of the renewable mandates — the REPS rider as well as the Demand Side Management/Energy Efficiency rider — are increasing. If fuel costs weren’t falling, North Carolina’s electricity rates would be rising due to the riders.
Sanders said the only time the poll offered any hint that renewable energy sources cost more than fossil fuel occurred in the campaign context of Donald Trump’s energy policy versus Hillary Clinton’s. The poll found that respondents favored Clinton’s position over Trump’s by 51.8 percent to 28.5 percent.

“I think that question undercuts the entire rationale of the poll,” Sanders said. “The poll wishes policymakers to think that government favoritism and purchase mandates boosting renewable energy are winning political issues. But in point of fact voters in this state favored Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton.”

[…]

7 comments for “The Dee & Paul Show: Selling the NCGOP on solar welfare

  1. ALGore
    March 18, 2017 at 2:02 pm

    See what a good investment it was when our hard core environmentalist movement shelled out big bucks to buy these two progressive Republican consultants Stewart and Shumaker? It allows us to advance President Obama’s green energy legacy by hijacking Republicans, hee hee!

    These guys are smart enough in their polling to not mention that renewable energy drives up consumers rates for electricity. They know how to skew polls so people will answer the politically correct way by not giving them all the facts. Why should we tell Bubba that he is not going to be able to afford airconditioning, if that is what it takes to save the polar bears? As President Obama himself said, his green energy policies will cause electric rates ”to necessarily skyrocket”.

    There are so many Republicans that are just so gullible that we do not even need our own Democrats any more to build President Obama’s green energy agenda and legacy..

  2. GUWonder
    March 19, 2017 at 8:38 am

    If Stewart and Shumaker are ”highly regarded” it is certainly NOT by conservatives. Shumaker is a pollster, and if he did this poll himself, then he has likely cooked the books on it.

    It is often difficult to tell which side Shumaker is really on. Take his disastrous advice to Justice Bob Edmunds to NOT have party labels on the race for his Supreme Court seat, which cost him that seat and cost Republicans the court majority. Was that just stupidity on Shumaker’s part or was it deliberate? Did he have another client who wanted to see a liberal majority on the court? Perhaps his new environmentalist friends?

    Then there is Stewart, who seems to be around any time there is a vicious attack on conservatives in primaries. He is the usual establishment attack dog against conservatives, and does not flinch from slinging half-truths and outright fabrications, often delivered at the last minute by oversized glossy postcard when the victim has no chance to set the record straight.

    That Civitas caught the pair of them taking big money from some really far leftwing national environmental extremists a couple of years ago to push this renewable energy ripoff is no big surprise. They are eager rent boys for the special interests, and will accept any cause as long as there is cash on the barrelhead. They will prostitute themselves to anyone

    It is also good to see Locke on the side of the angels on this one, as they have been on the wrong side of some key conservative issues lately.

    Calling an organization ”Conservatives for Clean Energy” is really a hoot. What will Shumaker and Stewart come up with next? Turkeys for Thanksgiving?

  3. hair-on-fire
    March 19, 2017 at 9:40 am

    Fortunately, we now have Germany as a “green revolution” model NOT to follow. About 330,000 German households have had their electric power cut off over one year for their inability to pay their electric bills at 30 cents per kWh- about 3x our US rates. They decided to switch whole-hog to wind and solar, shutting off those nasty old coal and nuke plants with their cost-effective electric production. See this:

    Germany’s “Silent Catastrophe” …330,000 Households See Power Turned Off In One Year! – See more at: http://notrickszone.com/2017/03/03/germanys-silent-catastrophe-330000-households-see-power-turned-off-in-one-year/#sthash.5NeSVDKq.dpuf

    I’m just guessing, but I’m betting we simple folk here in NC do NOT need any part of this! Personally, I’d dump ALL solar and wind until the shysters hawking this stuff can PROVE it is cost-effective before asking for a seat at the energy table. Folks who want it can buy it, but DO NOT push it off on the rest of us thru the heavy hand of government.

    • ALGore
      March 19, 2017 at 6:53 pm

      Why should American rednecks or German peasants be able to afford their electric bills? The important thing is to save the polar bears. Polar bears matter more than people, don’t you know?

      The important thing to save the polar bears is to drive up electric costs, so rednecks will use less of it, and wind and solar energy is a good way to make electric bills a lot more expensive.

  4. Dallas Outhouse
    March 20, 2017 at 6:45 am

    We at NCGOPe will be proud to help again to try to undermine GOP principles and the NCGOP platform by including Dee and Paul’s propaganda in GOP convention delegate packages as we did last time, We make it easy for them by having a close associate and former employee of Dee right on our NCGOPe headquarters staff.

  5. Raphael
    March 20, 2017 at 8:36 pm

    Germany is a good example of why North Carolina does not need to go down the renewables rathole. Merkel has ditched a lot of conventional energy production and switched on a large scale to wind and solar. Consumer electric rates are in the stratosphere to the point that electricity is almost becoming a luxury. They have not hit business and industry rates as hard as they have consumers, but they have still been hit hard enough that some of them are starting to leave Germany.

    Other countries that had not gotten as deep in the renewables mess as Germany have started to pull back from it, including the UK and Spain, even though consumers in book have already seen rates increases due to a wind and solar push. Maybe these countries woke up in time to avoid too much of a price hike.

    North Carolina is the only state in our region with a renewable electricity mandate. Duke Power has already cited the higher cost of renewable energy as part of the reason for its last rate increase request. A renewable energy mandate in NC while surrounding states do not have one will soon make NC uncompetitive with those other states in attracting new industry due to us having higher electric rates due to the mandate. This will cost NC jobs.

    No legislator who cares at all about the taxpayer or the electric ratepayer should not even think about continuing, much less raising NC’s renewable energy mandate. Nor would one who really cares about jobs

    And that is not even considering the ecological harm from wind and solar like pollution and killing birds.

  6. Raphael
    March 21, 2017 at 8:08 am

    Nelson Dollar, meet Nick Xenophon. Nick has climbed a bit farther up the political ladder. He is a federal Senator, not a mere state legislator, although he was once that, too. Nick has a completely different take on renewable energy and has shown that opposition to intermittent forms of it is a political winner. Intermittent sources such as wind and solar are unreliable and costly, as well as presenting other problems.

    Nick Xenophone moved from the South Australia legislature to the federal Senate as an independent, focusing on the issue of stopping video gambling, but having won that battle, moved on to other topics, a big one being tilting at windmills or opposing wasteful and unreliable forms of renewable energy (he does support non-intermittent renewables like tidal and geothernal),. Here is a quote from Senator Xenophon on the issue:

    ”The scientific evidence shows that low frequency noise does affect brain activity and can severely affect people’s sleep patterns…The problem with wind energy is that it can never replace coal powered energy because it’s not reliable enough for base-load power. The billions being spent on wind energy take away from investment in base-load renewable energies such as geothermal and tidal energy”. – Senator Nick Xenophon

    Tilting at windmills proved a powerful issue. In last year’s Senate election, the new Nick Xenophone Team not only reelected Nick, but running on a showstring against the big parties emerged with a total of three Senators in Australia’s 70 member Senate and one House seat, thus quadrupleing its number of federal lawmakers.

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