#ncga: Solar goons score big, get payoff from NCGOPe in NC House

The NCGOPe dominated North Carolina House dropped all pretenses of conservatism today and rammed through the subsidized solar lobby’s wildest fantasy today by a vote of 108-11.   HB589 is sooooooo bad that it has The Daily Haymaker, The John Locke Foundation AND Civitas all throwing rocks at it.  (In case you didn’t realize, it’s a real rarity to find those three entities all on the same page.) 

Solar has such a bad business model that it cannot survive without government subsidies.  It’s too expensive and too unreliable.  Every facet of the solar energy process screams waste and cronyism.  (No wonder it is being received so enthusiastically in Raleigh.) 

Civitas’s Francis DeLuca came out swinging pretty hard against this travesty: 

North Carolina House Bill 589, Competitive Energy Solutions for NC, is anything but competitive or a solution. It is a lobbyists’ dream bill with something for everyone – right down to a set aside for environmental non-profit NCGREENPOWER. The bill, while purportedly being about “renewables,” is almost 100 percent dedicated to promoting solar power. A search of the bill turns up no mention of wind and only a brief mention of swine and poultry waste energy generation: not much in the way of renewables except for solar.

Rather than bore you with trivial information about “rate making” and “avoided costs,” I am going to just give you the big reasons this bill should be shelved. If any action is to be taken, it should be turned into a study committee bill for the 2018 short session and given the proper time for full debate and consideration.

HB 589 is a massive step and could negatively impact NC utility customers for years to come. Duke Energy has already filed for a rate increase this year that would cause residential customer rates to go up 16.7 percent. There is also talk the company will ask for another double-digit increase next year.  

Also troubling is an entirely new program, the Solar Rebate Program on page 17 of the bill. This program is very similar to the expired tax credits NC was offering, except in this case instead of the taxpayer paying for them, it will be utility customers paying through their electric bills. It is not unlike the Affordable Care Act method of charging some insurance customers more to offer subsidies to other insurance customers. In this case, residents who are not installing solar are subsidizing those who are installing solar.[…]

These “rebates” — SUBSIDIES — will be offered to residential AND retail customers.  You and I will be paying for Food Lion and Wal-Mart, among others, to go solar.

MORE: 

[…]This will be in addition to the continued impact of the REP charges.In 2016 Duke, per a recent filing with the North Carolina Utility Commission (NCUC), had 20 days during which the company had more power available on the Duke Progress system than it could use. This power was sold at a loss to another system.

This means customers of Duke Progress (the eastern half of the state, where most of the solar is located) subsidized other customers. Duke also stated that solar requirements have cost customers over a billion dollars extra. Can we afford more solar?

[…] I will leave you with two more data points to consider when pondering North Carolinas energy future.

  1. North Carolina has repeatedly failed to land a large manufacturing facility in recent years. Could this be because we have utility rates that are rising and the renewable mandate in the Southeast? None of our neighboring states have this. South Carolina recently landed a Volvo manufacturing plant by giving the manufacturer a reduced rate on electricity.
  2. […]While NC is not in the top ten of “potential” solar power, we are the number two in installed solar. Remember, every installed solar-generating facility must have a backup generating facility, usually fossil fueled. Because the backup facility is not run at optimum efficiency, due to varying solar facility output, it usually puts out more pollution than another facility operating continuously.[…]

Reps. John Szoka (R- Cumberland), Dean Arp (R-Union) and Sam Watford (R-Davidson) are the lead sponsors of this travesty.  The eleven courageous, sensible folks who voted NO on this bill were: Reps. Blackwell, Blust, Boswell, Brody,  Cleveland, Collins, Dixon, Ford, Millis, Pittman and Speciale.  (Wait, Jimmy Dixon?  He must have been  confused or something.   Kelly Hastings — *Surprise, Surprise* — took a walk on this vote.)    

We wrote earlier about the provision that allows folks not blessed by the Utilities Commissions AS UTILITIES to sell power.  That certainly opens the door for folks, like, say, those developers who have passed out all that campaign moolah on Jones Street to win the right to build schools with solar panels on top of them financed by public money, to turn around and directly sell the electricity produced at those buildings to others in the community. 

Pockets got lined.  Pols got paid.   So, everybody with a fat bank account and a bunch of lobbyists WINS with this bill.  Those of us who work hard and play by the rules will be stuck with THE FINAL BILL.

Just like in DC, YOU DON’T MATTER UNLESS YOU WRITE THE BIGGEST CHECK.  

Isn’t it remarkable how this era in Raleigh began as “a conservative revolution,” but has turned into a government-growing graft-fest  that rivals what we saw in the darkest Democrat years? 

15 comments for “#ncga: Solar goons score big, get payoff from NCGOPe in NC House

  1. john steed
    June 7, 2017 at 9:04 pm

    We have lots of fake Republicans in the House, who badly need primaries next year. They have declared war on electric customers and electric ratepayers need to go to Defcom One to throw them out of office.

    In the old days we could depend on the Senate to stop such nonsense, but these days, who knows where Berger’s head is at. We may see as many fake Republicans in the Senate.

    German electric customers pay three times what North Carolinians do for their electricity thanks to this renewables nonsense, and Comrade Moore is on his way to seeing that North Carolinians get socked just as hard. Shame, shame, SHAME on Timmy Moore.

    Why bother to vote Republican when they pull such liberal Democrat CRAP?

  2. Myron Smith
    June 8, 2017 at 12:47 am

    Not surprised the GOP are being provided false information and following the leadership of Robin Hayes and others like him.
    Also, the Agriculture/ Environment/Natural Resources Committees are changing the laws = Water Pollution will occur at higher levels, Riparian Buffers along NC Rivers Streams, and NC Rivers and Coastal waters will be severely polluted! Even allowing Hog Farmers to pollute their neighbors land House Bill 467, then the owners of Polluted land can NOT sue to obtain damages repayment to their property. Prepare for Fish Kills in Rivers and coastal waters.

    • GUWonder
      June 8, 2017 at 12:39 pm

      The problem is that we have too many legislators who care more for the money of the special interests than the interests of their voters, and that includes the Republican base, whom they are screwing to the wall.

      Destroying our bathroom privacy and raising our electric rates. What reason does the Republican base have to turn out next year for these wannabee Democrats?

      Phil Berger probably has one last chance to redeem himself after his horrible sellout on HB2, and that is to stop this boondoggle from the House. If he does not, then he will have conclusively gone over to the dark side and will no longer be someone worth voting for.

  3. Richard Manyes
    June 8, 2017 at 5:45 am

    This may be the worst yet. Duke has testified in November that ratepayers have over paid by $1 billion for solar power due to an erroneously high “avoided cost” estimate. They filed information demonstrating that the “avoided cost” should be roughly 1/2 the current value. Hopefully the Utilities Commission will lower the “avoided cost” accordingly. So what does this bill do? It actually extends by 30 months the use of the erroneously high number – In this way we can get over charged for 30 more months – It is simply ridiculous.

    I put “avoided cost” in quotations because the entire avoided cost concept attempts to pay for solar power what Duke would ordinarily pay for the power itself – but the joke is the power isn’t as valuable since it only comes on when the sun shines – so this is like paying the same/hour for a car that only drives when it wants to and a car that runs anytime you want it to.

    • Raphael
      June 9, 2017 at 8:06 pm

      This explosion of expensive and undependable solar electricity is going to clobber NC on jobs. Surveys have shown that the more renewable energy in your mix, the quicker and higher your electric rates will go up. Duke Power has cited the higher cost of renewable electricity in justifying its rate increases.

      The problem for North Carolina on recruiting industry in the future will be that we are the only state in our region with this addiction to renewable energy and the only one with a renewable energy mandate. As this pushes our electric rates significantly higher than our neighbors, it will give our neighbors a decided advantage in recruiting new industry. This is a massive anti-jobs bill.

  4. Firecat
    June 8, 2017 at 7:58 am

    Agree with Mr Steed that many in our Party need primaries next year. However, until we all do our respective jobs and help find their replacements, support them financially, and assist with their campaigns there’s little to no chance that will happen since incumbents usually retain their seats. Sitting on the sidelines and yelling at the players only gets you so far.

    We must do our part first. That takes some work, and sadly most people would rather not get that involved. I sure wish they would.

    • GUWonder
      June 8, 2017 at 12:46 pm

      This is that one cycle every 12 years with no non-judicial statewide races on the ballot, and historically low trunouts with a much higher proportion of issue-oriented educated voters than low information voters. It is our best shot to get some of these phonies out of office in the primaries. But you are right, it is going to take someone organizing it. Is the Tea Party up to it?.

      This cycle also creates a huge danger in the general election for the GOP as its leaders keep stupidly alienating the GOP base with legislation like this and repealing HB2. Turnout will be the key, and turning off your own base is just idiocy.

    • Toxhandler
      June 8, 2017 at 9:08 pm

      Well, you know I can’t say whom because that would put a target on their back from Hayes and company but I know one Party leader whom is actively recruiting a logistically capable conservative to oust their current RINO so rest assured, some people are doing something about it. However, all bets are suspended for the moment until we see what kind of districts we’ll have next year.

  5. Raphael
    June 8, 2017 at 8:18 am

    Hopefully, Civitas will score this one in their rating and triple weight it.

  6. Just Sayin'
    June 8, 2017 at 2:13 pm

    This article is like so many others you write. Maybe you should warn your readers not to read these emails until after their lunch has been digested. I assure you I’ve learned my lesson.

    Some examples could be:
    Warning: reading this while eating may destroy your appetite
    Warning: reading this email while eating may make you puke
    Warning: nauseous content

  7. Richard Manyes
    June 8, 2017 at 5:03 pm

    The one loser if this bill is passed will be the ratepayer. That’s why everyone in Raleigh is singing Kumbaya. All the special interests were there except a representative of the ratepayer – as a consequence all the goodies everyone got will be paid for by us. The bill is a veritable treasure trove for the special interests. For one, it grandfathers an inflated value of the avoided cost – the cost solar farms get paid for their electricity. Both Duke and Dominion Power are on record saying that value is approximately twice what it should be and that the higher rate will already over-charge North Carolinians $1.4 billion. This bill extends it for some 30 more months. Also an additional 2.6 GW (more than twice what we have now) of capacity will be paid for by the ratepayer under this bill – and why? We are already 2nd in the country – Duke, btw, has testified that the reason we are so popular to solar developers is because we have insanely generous incentives – Finally, Solar doesn’t even help the environment – the fossil units that must also be bought to back these panels up are forced to run under non-optimal operating conditions (to even out the highly fluctuating solar output) and actually pollute more than if they simply ran under more smooth conditions.

    • Raphael
      June 8, 2017 at 8:20 pm

      Last weekend, the state Republican Party passed a platform that called for an end to the renewable energy mandate and supporting a free enterprise approach to energy. Now, a few days later, the GOP legislative leadership kicked the party in the teeth by directly rejecting the platform by embracing crony capitalism, like Putin’s Russia, instead of free enterprise in their approach to energy.. Maybe Putin, or at least his way of doing things, has more sway in Raleigh than in Washington.

      Earlier Chris Millis had introduced a bill to carry out the GOP platform on ending the renewable energy mandate, and John Szoka led the liberals in the party to kill it in committee. Millis was a champion of Republican principles while Szoka directly attacked Republican principles.

      Our legislative leaders are embracing the ideas of Obama, Putin, Soros, Gore, and Steyer, and rejecting those of Reagan, Trump, Helms, and the GOP in general. Whose side are they on? Not ours, obviously.

  8. ALGore
    June 9, 2017 at 8:39 am

    Hey! Get over it, you guys. We in the hard core environmental movement OWN you precious Republican legislative majority. They are ours, all bought and paid for. They will continue to march in lockstep with President Obama’s green energy legacy and ignore your silly little Republican platform and your silly Republican principles..

    Those legislative Republicans on our payroll will also ignore those silly peons, the voters. It is just too bad that electric rates will have to skyrocket, but how else can we save the polar bears? And why should the redneck grassroots be allowed to afford air conditioning anyway? Making electricity an expensive luxury like they do in Germany is the best way to save the polar bears, and in our movement polar bears matter a whole lot more than people or their jobs or comfort.

    This is just the first step. Soon, we will demonstrate that your Senate Republican majority is also bought and paid for by our movement. Phil Berger is as big a flunky of our hard core environmental movement as Tim Moore.

    Our green movement gets ahead by keeping the “green” flowing to buy the key politicians. President Obama will be so proud that we are saving his legacy and getting Republicans to do it. So will Tom Steyer and George Soros.

    But we are not the only ones. Not long ago the LGBT crowd got this same bunch of Republican legislators to save President Obama’s LGBT legacy in North Carolina. We don’t even need my old party any more when Republicans will jump up to do our bidding.

  9. john steed
    June 10, 2017 at 6:20 am

    That Jimmy Dixon vote is a big surprise, given that he has been one of the most disgusting rent boys for the special interests, and in particular the solar goon special interests for a long time. I would suggest one of several possibilities:
    1) Dixon accidentally hit the wrong voting button from what he intended,
    2) Dixon found out that other legislative prostitutes were getting more payola to turn tricks for the solar special interest than he got and worked himself into a snit,
    3) Dixon finally figured out that he has crapped in his mess kit with GOP primary voters when he voted for Roy Cooper’s repeal of HB2 and was desperately trying to make up for it.

  10. Dallas Outhouse
    June 11, 2017 at 7:32 am

    We at NCGOPe want Speaker Moore to know that we want to help him. Robin is a big backer of environmental causes, even when they hurt the party, as he knows. We know that having the NCGOP platform accessible during this time period is inconvenient to Speaker Moore, and just a few days ago, we had both the previous platform and the one adopted this past weekend up on our website for people to view. Now both have been taken down from the party website until this blows over. We aim to please the establishment any way we can.

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