by Jon Sanders
Director of the Center for Food, Power, and Life, Research Editor | John Locke Foundation
Some takeaways from Dan Way’s Carolina Journal report yesterday:
1. Your facility can get all its electricity from traditional fuel sources and pretend they’re powered by renewable sources. (Media, environmentalists, corporate PR people, and especially renewable energy lobbyists love perpetuating that fiction.)
The Duke customer could purchase as much as 100 percent of the energy it uses from Duke’s less expensive coal, natural gas, and nuclear sources while claiming its operations instead are fueled by renewable power. …
As Carolina Journal has reported, when Google announced the deal it said the agreement allows it to purchase solar power “in enough volume to power one of our data centers.” … Google did not mention that the entire Caldwell County data center complex would not receive any of the new solar power. It will continue to receive all of its power from Duke Energy’s traditional fossil fuel/hydro/nuclear mix. …
Amazon says its data center near Dulles International Airport in northern Virginia would be powered by a wind farm under construction near Elizabeth City when, in fact, it will not be connected to that wind farm. Apple claimed its data center in Maiden, N.C., is 100 percent renewable-powered even though it purchases all of its energy from Duke and the utility’s traditional fuel mix primarily of coal, natural gas, nuclear, and hydro.
My newsletter discussed the “100 percent renewable” myth last December.
2. Your power bill is less despite — certainly not “because of” as the renewable energy lobby likes to say — the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standards (REPS).
But the cost of the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards that requires utilities to purchase increasing amounts of renewable energy went up 34 cents, from 83 cents to $1.17 per month. A Demand Side Management/Energy Efficiency Rider went up $1.95, from $4.26 to $6.21.
Riders allow Duke to pass various allowable costs to customers.
My newsletter last June discussed the net decline (i.e., the decline despite rising REPS costs) in electricity prices as well as unintended, unexpectedly higher energy-efficiency costs.
3. So what’s helping your electricity bills? Falling traditional fuel costs are one. Tax cuts are another.
Watson said a decrease in fuel costs, mostly in natural gas, resulted in a $5.64 decrease in that average customer’s bill. …
Rep. Jeff Collins, R-Nash, was critical of the energy efficiency rider, which was part of the same Senate Bill 3 legislation passed in 2007 that enacted the REPS.
“In short, and in layman’s terms, does this mean the average customer basically is paying $6.21 a month for the privilege of having your electrical supplier try to do things that incent you to use less electricity?”
“Yes,” Watson said.
Watson also said an 8-cent reduction in the average Duke Energy Progress customer’s monthly bill was due to tax cuts enacted by the General Assembly rather than energy cost savings.
“To be clear then, because of tax reform there actually has been a reduction in the cost of electric rates,” Rucho said.
“Yes, I will say that because of the further reduction in corporate income tax that was effective Jan. 1 of this year that that reduction was flowed through to customers,” Watson said.
By the way, guess who opposed the lower electricity rates? The same lobby that has been telling policymakers and the public that REPS was good because it was cutting your rates.
Credit the preztel-tastic mental gymnastics a dedicated special-interest lobbyist must make in order to argue that (a) REPS is good because it lowers electricity rates while (b) knowing that it doesn’t and (c) knowing that what is doing it happens to be the very energy sources your lobby competes against, and doing all that while (d) trying to convince utility regulators not to lower electricity rates because you know (e) lower rates would make it tougher on your special-interest industry.