Signed by Gov. Cooper, HB 951 puts his policy goal of 70% reduction of CO2 emissions into law, allows multiyear rate plans for utilities, and lets small solar facilities amend and extend their contracts with utilities. Elements of the new law portend large increases in electricity costs for consumers in North Carolina, but its intent was to "ensure reliable energy generation with fiscal responsibility" and prevent even worse rate hikes. Only through a very strict adherence to the law as written can that goal be achieved.
By favoring wind and solar generation with battery storage to the exclusion of viable, dependable sources, Gov. Cooper's "Clean Energy Plan" would be extremely expensive, costing consumers an average of $411 per year more for electricity. It would cost $123.86 per metric ton of CO2 emissions reduced and take up more land than the state's three largest counties combined. Alternatives provided for Locke by energy researcher Jordan McGillis showed that emissions reductions could be achieved via more natural gas or nuclear facilities at much less expense to consumers and with a miniscule environmental footprint.
Cooper's "Clean Energy Plan" has a very definite preference for extremely expensive, intermittent, and unreliable electricity resources, to the exclusion of viable, dependable resources. A report for Locke by energy researcher Jordan McGillis showed that Duke Energy's scenario most closely aligned with Cooper's plan would level enormous costs to consumers. Such reliance on wind and solar generation and battery storage carries many hidden and unconsidered environmental, supply-chain, ecological, and land-use costs.
Counter to popular belief, North Carolina's greenhouse emissions have been falling all century — dramatically. The United States leads the world in reducing CO2 emissions. When people don't know these things, they may be more inclined to accept massive government interventions like Gov. Cooper's "Clean Power Plan," which would leave them materially worse off for no reason.
With zero emissions, unrivaled reliability, and lowest costs, existing nuclear power checks all the boxes for what different people want from electricity. Losing nuclear power has been shown to increase prices, cause grid instability, and even endanger lives. While Gov. Cooper's "Clean Power Plan" seeks "nuclear generation replacement," Pres. Biden recently signaled support for keeping nuclear plants operating.
NC's standard in law for electricity provision is least-cost, reliable electricity at the flip of a switch. State electricity policy, however, is too often directed by "stakeholders" whose desires clash with that legal standard, to the detriment especially of poor consumers. House Bill 529 would restore and boost the state's protection of electricity consumers from unnecessarily high costs.
posted February 10, 2021 by Dr. Donald R. van der Vaart
North Carolinians should know that many of the energy policies Gov. Roy Cooper has advocated for here in North Carolina follow the mistakes identified as the cause of California's blackouts. As in California, these missteps will leave North Carolina unprepared for our energy future and will ultimately lead to blackouts here. North Carolina should not repeat California’s mistakes.
posted January 29, 2021 by Dr. Donald R. van der Vaart
Prior to becoming governor, AG Roy Cooper spoke strongly against consumers being made to pay coal ash cleanup costs, but under his governorship and two settlement agreements later, consumers appear to be on the hook for almost 90 percent of the $9 billion cleanup costs.
posted January 22, 2021 by Dr. Donald R. van der Vaart
You might think that battery storage would provide power for the time when the sun doesn’t shine. You might think battery storage would eliminate the need for combustion turbines. You might think battery storage would lead to zero emissions of GHGs. In all cases, you would be very wrong.
posted September 22, 2020 by Dr. Donald R. van der Vaart
Solar power requires the use of fossil fuels. Solar requires fossil fuel–fired combustion turbines to provide 79% of the load. To the extent manmade GHGs are impacting global warming, then, solar power cannot compete with nuclear power.
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