Solar goons STILL having their way with the NCGOPe-led NCGA

Government subsidies for the solar industry are going up.  (So is the bankruptcy rate in the industry.)  It’s becoming more and more clear that solar — at best — is a decent temporary backup — a Plan B or C, if you will — to more traditional fossil fuel sources, is incredibly expensive, and cannot survive without the iron fist of the government shoving it in the faces of taxpayers.

Still, the NCGOPe majority in the General Assembly — pockets overflowing with solar goon cash — continues to find ways to shove this albatross on us.  Here are the official stenographers for the NCGOPe with the details of the latest hijinks on Jones Street: 

The N.C. House of Representatives released details of energy policy reform legislation Monday that aims to reshape the relationship between traditional utilities and renewable energy providers after a decades-long arranged marriage through the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards (REPS) laws passed in 2007. House Bill 589, Balanced Energy Solutions for North Carolina, is being spearheaded by Rep. John Szoka (R-Cumberland) and Rep. Dean Arp (R-Union).

“House Bill 589 is a major step forward in energy policy to ensure North Carolina remains competitive in the global economy in which we live,” Joseph Kyzer, communications director for Speaker Tim Moore (R-Kings Mountain) said in a statement. “This legislation represents agreement among a very diverse group of renewable energy, customer advocate and utility organizations after almost a year of stakeholders negotiations.”

Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) convened an energy stakeholders group in September 2016 to achieve a consensus reform package that mitigated energy costs to customers and introduced a more competitive bidding process to satisfy renewable energy requirements.

“I appreciate the tireless efforts of Reps. Arp and Szoka finding a path forward to revolutionizing North Carolina’s energy policies with the support of power providers and utilities to control costs for customers and encourage a diverse, competitive marketplace that attracts new businesses and jobs into our economy,” said Moore.

The bill would amend various laws related to energy policy, including reform of the State implementation of the Public Utilities Regulatory Policy Act (PURPA), the creation of a competitive bidding process for new renewable energy resources, and the enactment of the Distributed Resources Access Act to authorize leasing of third-party owned solar development.

The proposal would require utilities to offer standard contracts to small power production facilities for up to 10-year terms for facilities that have a capacity up to 1 megawatt. The standard contract for 1 MW facilities would be capped to a total aggregate of 100 MW per public utility.

It would also require that capacity payments be made only when capacity is needed by the utility based on need for that resource, as established by the utility’s statutorily required integrated resource plan, plans which are approved by the N.C. Utilities Commission.

Highlights of the bill include a competitive bidding process for solar developers that allows cost savings for electric customers and provides for favorable siting locations. These changes will reform elements of the existing PURPA rules that regulate contracts between renewable providers and the utilities that are mandated to purchase their energy.

Here’s where it really gets interesting:

House Bill 589 also creates a solar leasing program where energy customers can work with private third parties to install renewable energy features with little or no upfront cost. The bill also reforms purchase agreements between utilities and customers that have renewable energy installations on their homes or businesses. Currently, a utility is required to purchase excess customer-generated energy, from rooftop solar panels for instance, essentially at retail rates.

Under current law, electric public utilities in the state have the exclusive rights to sell electricity in a designated franchise area. Third-party financing models are not available because solar developers are not authorized to sell power back to the consumer unless they are the regulated public utility serving that franchise area.

However, retail customers can own a renewable energy systems for their own primary use and are compensated through bill credits under a net metering rate. H.B. 589 would enact the Distributed Resources Access Act to allow third parties to offer leasing of solar energy facilities in the service area of an offering utility or a municipality that offers electric service and to create a community solar energy program to be implemented by the offering utility.

The bill also includes a study of energy storage and a path for swine and poultry waste-to-energy development and connection to the North Carolina electric grid.

So, you don’t need to be overseen by the Utilities Commission to sell electricity?  (*Gee, what could go wrong here?*)   And, I see they’ve thrown in a little something — the study — for Jimmy Dixon’s pork pals.  

The news is full of stories about these subsidized solar albatrosses collapsing under their own weight

And there is also lots of good independent information about what a waste solar energy truly is.  Check out this piece, for example, from the Mises Institute:

Citing U.S. Department of Energy data, the New York Times recently reported that the solar industry employs far more Americans than wind or coal: 374,000 in solar versus 100,000 in wind and 160,000 in coal mining and coal-fired power generation. Only the natural gas sector employs more people: 398,000 workers in gas production, electricity generation, home heating and petrochemicals.

This is supposed to be a good thing, according to the Times. It shows how important solar power has become in taking people out of unemployment lines and giving them productive jobs, the paper suggests.

Indeed, the article notes, California had the highest rate of solar power jobs per capita in 2016, thanks to its “robust renewable energy standards and installation incentives” (ie, mandates and subsidies).

In reality, it’s not a good thing at all, and certainly not a positive trend. In fact, as Climate Depot and the Washington Examiner point out — citing an American Enterprise Institute study — the job numbers actually underscore how wasteful, inefficient and unproductive solar power actually is.

That is glaringly obvious when you look at the amounts of energy produced per sector. (This tally does not include electricity generated by nuclear, hydroelectric and geothermal power plants.)

  • 398,000 natural gas workers = 33.8% of all electricity generated in the United States in 2016
  • 160,000 coal employees = 30.4 % of total electricity
  • 100,000 wind employees = 5.6% of total electricity
  • 374,000 solar workers = 0.9% of total electricity

It’s even more glaring when you look at the amount of electricity generated per worker. Coal generated an incredible 7,745 megawatt-hours of electricity per worker; natural gas 3,812 MWH per worker; wind a measly 836 MWH for every employee; and solar an abysmal 98 MWH per worker.

In other words, producing the same amount of electricity requires one coal worker, two natural gas workers — 12 wind industry employees or 79 solar workers.

Even worse, whereas coal and gas electricity is cheap, affordable, and available virtually 100% of the time — wind and solar are expensive, intermittent, unreliable, and available only 15–30% of the time, on an annual basis. Wind and solar electricity is there when it’s there, not necessarily when you need it.

In truth, about the only thing solar and wind companies do well is collect billions of dollars in subsidies from taxpayers and billions of dollars in much higher electricity rates from consumers. […] 

Folks, this is NOT about saving the planet or saving you money.  This is about elites in Raleigh filling their pockets at our expense.

9 thoughts on “Solar goons STILL having their way with the NCGOPe-led NCGA

  1. There is nothing good about anything solar. It is a massive scam. The NC Republicans have stupidly sold us out and have been bought by lobby efforts. Supposed conservative John Szoka is among the worst sell outs.

  2. Would you pay for something that works 30 or maybe 40 percent of the time? Yeah it works that little but yet we pay more! STUPID is WHAT STUPID buys!

  3. I love my little solar panel to charge my ham radio batteries when the power it out.

    Legislators are always subject to funneling public funds into someone’s pockets, and we suspect some gets back to them. Solar is just the current craze.

    It isn’t a question or efficiency as much as ROBBERY and HONESTY.

  4. Your progressive Republicans are the ones who are saving President Obama’s green energy legacy. While the green they mostly care about is the green we give them for their campaign funds, it still means a win for President Obama’s legacy.

    When the renewable energy mandate started almost all the Republicans voted against it, except Thom Tillis. Our hard core environmental movement then paid out some green to progressive Republican consultants Paul Shumaker and Dee Stewart, and that got us access to Republican legislators. Now many of those progressive Republican legislators have sold their souls to the highest bidders and that is us.

    These progressive Republicans thumb their noses at their own party platform.

  5. My neighbor, a democrat, in New Bern just sold his house with solar panels on it for the last two years with enough cash to move to high tax CT. Guess my neighborhood, a modest one, will all go solar to become the Country Club class. Glad this became an issue to get my mind off Wilmington.

  6. 2 Lowest Producers of Energy: Solar energy produces lowest 0.9 % of electricity energy and wind produces 5.6 % of electricity. To Costly
    stop the government Subsidies $$$$$.

  7. (Groan!) Phil Berger AGAIN? He used to be someone who stood for conservative principle and had the backbone to fight hard. Now he seems to sell his soul to the liberal special interests every time we turn around. First it was to the LGBT special interest in repealing HB2. Now it is the corrupt Solyndra special interest in selling out the taxpayers and electric ratepayers to the renewable energy mafia.

    Is Berger listening to a leftwing political consultant like Stewart or Shumarer who is trying to lead him down the Thom Tillis path? They are well on their way to making Phil Berger utterly unacceptable as a nominee for any higher office.

    One consumer ripoff that needs to be changed in net metering, a corrupt practice that makes all other electric consumers have to subsidize those with the hideous solar crap on their houses. We consumers are being ripped off for a corrupt special interest, and Berger and Moore have their crooked fingerprints all over it.

    This bill sucks big time and any liberal Republican who votes for it needs a primary. The NCGOP just passed a new platform that again calls for NO renewable energy mandate and letting the free market, not government manipulation, prevail in energy production, These liberal Rerpublicans are arrogantly thumbing their noses at the Republican base. The Republican base needs to give them some payback in the primaries, just as we should for the repeal of HB2. Throw the rascals OUT!

  8. Civitas and Locke have both made a big deal lately about how bad this solar addiction is for North Carolina. It was the lead story in Locke’s Carolina Journal’s latest issue. It is way past time for our legislators to wise up and vote for their constituents interests instead of that of pressure groups and lobbyists. It’s the ratepayers, stupid!

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