JLF’s John Hood points out in today’s column the consequences of the energy policies endorsed by previous legislatures. His viewpoint comes as the new Duke Energy requests a double-digit hike in rates. First, there was the 2002 Clean Smokestacks bill. And then:

In 2007, the General Assembly decided to move from the local to the global by enacting Senate Bill 3, including a mandate for utilities to buy high-cost “renewable” energy in a bid to combat global warming. Again, there was no formal cost-benefit analysis performed for the bill, since it would have inconveniently shown the renewable-portfolio standard to be all cost and no benefit. Even shutting down every coal and natural-gas power plant in North Carolina tomorrow would have no discernible effect on climate change or average global temperatures. So using state mandates to push wind and solar generation up a bit is obviously not going to make any difference whatsoever, except in higher energy costs.

The John Locke Foundation commissioned a 2009 study of those costs. We found that the renewable-portfolio standard would push North Carolina’s electric rates up $1.8 billion by 2021 and destroy thousands of jobs in the process.

So will the new Duke get its double-digit hike? Probably not. But you can bet that the request itself will help shine the light on poor energy policies of the last decade.