by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
From an email sent by Donald Bryson, state director of Americans for Prosperity:
Members of the NC House Republican Caucus:
My name is Donald Bryson, and I am the North Carolina State Director for Americans for Prosperity – the nation’s largest conservative grassroots organization. I am writing to urge you to support House Bills 681 (NC Ratepayers Protection Act) and 760 (Regulatory Reform Act of 2015), due to their provisions to limit the harmful impacts of the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS).
AFP’s official position is that we want to see the RPS end because it conflates energy prices in North Carolina and additional fees for renewable energy are forced onto consumers. I want to thank the several members of the caucus that signed pledges, last fall, to “support any legislation that puts an end to North Carolina’s market-distorting green energy mandate.”
The state’s RPS mandates that by 2020, 12.5 percent (one-eighth) of energy produced in North Carolina must come from a very narrow defined set of renewable energy sources. The RPS was put in place by legislation signed by Governor Mike Easley, in 2007, and currently sits at 6 percent.
Cost caps and rider fees were put in place for power companies to recoup the cost of building these additional renewable energy facilities. In other words, fees are assessed to your constituents (ratepayers) to pay for energy sources that are forced on them. These caps and rider fees are set to nearly triple on July 1, so these two bills are very timely.
House Bill 681 – NC Ratepayers Protection Act – would freeze the RPS and cost caps where they are (no higher fees on ratepayers) and sunset the RPS in 2018. It would also require a legislative study of North Carolina’s electrical grid, by the Energy Policy Council.
House Bill 760 – Regulatory Reform Act of 2015 – as amended, would not freeze or sunset the RPS, but would freeze the cost caps and fees in place (no higher fees on ratepayers), and would also require the electrical grid study by the North Carolina Energy Council.
Two university studies and a report from the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources, released last month, have shown the adverse economic impacts of North Carolina’s RPS. The DENR report in particular is devastating to any positive claims about the RPS coming from the renewable energy industry. …
… I ask that you take a stand for ratepayers, your constituents, and taxpayers.