Show the real cost of "green energy" mandates (David Stevenson)
Mr. Stevenson is the energy policy director for Caesar Rodney Institute; the column was co-signed by CRI’s board of directors. The main theme: Delaware is showing leadership by providing Delmarva Power ratepayers in the state with detailed renewable energy costs on their monthly electric bills. (New Hampshire is reportedly preparing to follow Delaware’s example.) The current disclosure was reportedly ordered by the Public Service Commission, “thanks to persistent pressure” from CRI et al. Our recollection is that the leading supporters of the disclosure were civic activist John Nichols, Rep. John Kowalko, and Sen. Dave Lawson.
Delaware renewable energy costs have been pretty high, according to the writer, far exceeding the 3% cost cap that was provided by the legislature. And the QFCP tariff for Bloom Energy fuel cell power has proven far costlier than was originally promised. Thus, Delawareans have paid $190.7 million extra (that includes taxpayer subsidies as well as the QFCP tariff) for the fuel cell project since 2011 and the cumulative cost continues to mount at about $3 million per month. CRI predicted costs of this magnitude from the start, and regrettably its estimates have been borne out by experience.
“CRI understands that renewable energy will be a part of our energy mix,” so full disclosure is appropriate and “sets the stage for intelligent policy discussions.” And here’s the good news: “Costs have come down for large scale onshore wind and solar projects, which should now compete without state subsidies.”
Don’t hold your breath waiting for legislative action to eliminate the subsidies established under the Renewable Portfolio Standards Act. Such special interest handouts are very difficult to claw back, and it’s far more likely that there will be proposals to make the renewable energy requirements that are being phased in even more stringent (and expensive).