Proposed expansion of the Renewable Portfolio Standard (Gov. John Carney)
Response at end
May 27, 2019
Governor John Carney
Carvel State Office Building
820 N. French Street, 12th Floor
Wilmington, DE 19801
Dear Governor Carney:
I am writing to you on behalf of Secure America’s Future Economy. Centered in Delaware, SAFE is an all-volunteer, independent group that has been advocating smaller, more focused, less costly government since 1996. Although our policy focus is primarily at the national level, we also comment on Delaware issues from time to time.
This is an open letter and it has been posted on our website. Here's the link.
As you may know, there is a move afoot in the General Assembly to increase the “renewable energy” target under Delaware’s Renewable Portfolio Standard. The target currently stands at 19% and will max out at 25% in 2025 under existing legislation. It’s now proposed to set a higher target, potentially as much as 100%, for achievement after 2025.
This project is being undertaken pursuant to Senate Concurrent Resolution 10, which was passed by the House and Senate on 1/24/19.
Synopsis: This concurrent resolution applauds the success of the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards Act, recognizes the prospect that the standards might be raised to maintain currency in the today's energy climate, and authorizes the establishment of a working group of stakeholders to provide input into the process.
A meeting on this subject took place at Legislative Hall on May 10, with the general objective of soliciting stakeholder input. Sen. Harris McDowell presided, and gave all concerned (some 40-50 people) an opportunity to say their piece. The chair made clear, however, that the goal was to raise the RPS target – the only questions being how high and over what period?
The primary rationale was that Delaware must support the growing use of renewable energy (primarily wind and solar) in the name of fighting global warming. But even if the manmade global warming theory (MMGWT) turns out to be invalid, said Sen. McDowell, raising the RPS target would still be beneficial because of the green jobs created.
Instead of assuming the conclusion before doing the study, why not begin by considering (a) what the RPS has accomplished to date, and (b) what results could be expected from expansion of the program? Here are some specific points that would need to be considered:
1. What is the best current assessment of the MMGWT, considering scientific opinions on both sides of the issue? It’s our view that the skeptics could provide some highly relevant information in such a discussion. See, e.g., PA Legislature, Senate Majority Policy Committee, video (80 minutes), 5/1/19.
2. Assuming the MMGWT is valid, could global temperatures be materially affected by expanding the RPS in Delaware? (Carbon emissions from Delaware represent a miniscule share of the global total, and carbon emissions for the entire US represent an increasingly modest percentage of the global total due to the shift from coal to natural gas power plants.)
3. Why should it be assumed that “green jobs” will justify the RPS? (On an overall basis, experience suggests that the job losses due to higher electric power costs would be more than offsetting. The False Promise of Green Energy, Morriss, Bogart, Meiners & Dorchak, Cato Institute, 2011.)
4. How much is it currently costing Delaware consumers of electric power for RPS compliance, including the Qualified Fuel Cell Provider tariff being charged to Delmarva Power customers?
5. Should the phase-in of the RPS standard have been halted because the cost to consumers was outstripping the RPS cost cap enacted by the General Assembly? (DNREC and the PSC have been unable to agree on the intent of the General Assembly, and no action has been taken while the issue is being litigated.)
6. If the cost of wind and solar power is dropping dramatically due to technology improvements, as is claimed, why do these energy sources require endless mandates/subsidies?
7. What effect would hiking the RPS target have on the cost and reliability of electric power in Delaware? (Wind and solar power are intermittent, so they must be backed up by reliable energy sources such as fossil fuel or nuclear and/or by expensive storage systems.)
Our observations on the hearing were previously communicated to Sen. McDowell and will hopefully be taken into account. Given the importance of this issue for the Delaware economy, however, we thought you might appreciate a heads up. Your timely intervention in this matter could save a lot of time and energy for all concerned.
Please advise if you have any questions or we can help further.
6/18/19 e-mail from “Office of the Governor”: Thank you for contacting our office regarding the RPS increase. Please be assured that the Governor takes your comments seriously. Please feel free to reach out to us again if you have any questions, or if we can be of assistance. You also may visit https://governor.delaware.gov/email-governor-carney/ anytime to express your ideas, thoughts and concerns.