January 16, 2021

The silent killer of America’s economy

Posted on 29. Mar, 2011 by Administrator in Energy/Environment

Currently at least 18 states have legislation proposed or pending—44 bills—relating to the RPS (according to the American Legislative Exchange Council). Despite the various campaigns pulsating throughout the country, no one seems to know what an RPS really is.

Fewer are aware of the potentially lethal impact the RPS could have on America. The  RPS—or Renewable Portfolio Standard is the silent killer of the American economy. “Silent” because its presence is nearly unknown. The nightly news is occupied with Middle East and Midwest unrest and the public is fascinated with the unintelligible rants of Muammar Gadhafi and Charlie Sheen. With little media or public attention,  29 states have enacted an RPS and 7 more have agreed to voluntary goals.

The RPS is a legislated mandate requiring a certain percentage of a state’s electricity “portfolio” come from renewable energy (typically referring to wind and solar) by predetermined dates. Most states’ standards are 15% by 2015, and 20% by 2020. Maine is the most aggressive with a goal of 40% by 2017.

In his State of the Union Address, President Obama announced that he’d like to see 80% clean energy by 2035. Renewable energy is known to be more expensive for the consumer than electricity generated from traditional sources—even with subsidies of about $24 per magawatt hour (based on data from the Energy Information Administration). During a hearing for the New Mexico state-wide cap and trade program, the supporting attorney stated, “The reason for Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) is because renewables are more expensive. No one would choose them if it wasn’t required.”

Despite the high cost and intermittent availability, renewable energy is touted as the savior and environmental groups lobby legislators to push for mandates—or higher mandates when the states have already voted in the RPS. But, from what is renewable energy “saving” us?

The need for renewables is based on two lies. The first is that we “need” to get off of oil. Yes, we do need to get off of our dependence on oil from regimes that hate America, but we have plenty of oil here; there is no shortage. Access shortage, yes. Oil shortage, no. (Plus, electricity does not generally come from oil.) The second lie is that we must use “clean” energy—meaning that which does not produce CO2. This premise is based on the theory that CO2 causes global warming, global warming is human-caused, and stopping CO2 emissions will save the planet.

The RPS is not just a state issue. Based on these fallacies the federal government is also attempting to mandate more expensive energy. Senator Bingaman, Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, has repeatedly advocated a national RPS of 15% called a Renewable Electricity Standard.

(All of this, while support for climate change legislation and/or regulation is waning. Many states have bills that will reverse, reduce or modify their RPS. Promise of a potential RPS repeal was part of Ohio Governor Kasich’s successful campaign. New Hampshire should be the first state to pull out of their participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.) Regardless of whether state or federal, a new study reveals that these mandated renewable energy requirements will deliver a “devastating blow” to the economy.

The  American Traditions Institute has analyzed the potential for a national standard at various percentages and the existing RPS from several states. Though the exact numbers differ, the results were the same. Energy prices will increase for both individual citizens and industry. Jobs will be lost and household expenses will climb.

At a time when cities and states are facing record budget shortfalls, the RPS will also inflate their costs. A “2010 Report Card on Renewable Portfolio Standards by State,” done by solar power advocates, reveals that the cents per kilowatt-hour are generally higher with states with an RPS—and this is before they meet goals as high as 40% renewable energy.

Local governments pay for the lights, heating and cooling, elevators, and computers in government buildings. They pay to keep the streets lit. Leaving cities in the dark could cause crime to rise. Energy use and America’s Economy go hand-in-hand—meaning any effort to reduce energy availability or increase costs serves to kill a recovery that is barely clinging to life.

Renewable energy is not wrong. There are many cases when wind or solar are the best option. But mandates that raise costs could add fatal pressure to the American economy. Renewable Portfolio Standards are the silent killer.

Marita Noon is the Executive Director at Energy Makes America Great Inc. the advocacy arm of the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy—working to educate the public and influence policy makers regarding energy, its role in freedom and the American way of life. Find out more at www.EnergyMakesAmericaGreat.org.


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