Commentary

More on Koch group’s dishonest attack on renewable energy

Here are a few more details on the latest outrageous and inaccurate broadside launched by the North Carolina chapter of the Koch brothers-funded group known as Americans for Prosperity. As was explained in this space yesterday, AFP made the absurd claim that North Carolina’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard —  a modest law designed to help North Carolina begin to kick its heroin-like addiction to fossil fuels — “strangles” the “entire NC economy.” As pointed out here yesterday, this is simply untrue:

“Even if one conceded that the REPS somehow raises consumer electric bills in any significant way — something that is simply not true — North Carolina’s electric rates are currently below the national average.  This is true in all categories — residential, commercial industrial, transportation and overall.  Heck, North Carolina residential consumers pay less for electricity than Texans! North Carolina commercial and industrial consumers pay less than West Virginia businesses! Click here to review the latest data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. How could such rates be ‘strangling’ the economy?”

Later in the day yesterday, AFP attempted to defend its outrageous claim by pointing in two tweets to a statement in a March 2015 report written by McCrory administration officials. Here’s the supposedly damning language:

“North Carolina remains the only state in the Southeast to have enacted a REPS. As a result of this geographic isolation, long-term energy prices may adversely impact economic growth and challenge recent improvements in employment in North Carolina.”

To which, all a sane person can say in response is: How in the world can that be interpreted as confirmation of the assertion that REPS “strangles” the economy? Earth to AFP: Check your Merriam-Webster. “May adversely impact” does not mean “strangles.”

Add to this the fact that the “may adversely effect” language represents one sentence in a sometimes misleading 36 page report with myriad observations and conclusions about REPS and energy generally AND that it was written by employees of the McCrory administration’s decimated and thoroughly cowed Department of Environment and Natural Resources AND that the actual facts on the ground show the price of electricity in North Carolina to be well below the national average AND that other analysis shows that REPS is actually saving consumers millions and it becomes evident that the AFP folks are just making stuff up.

The plain and simple fact of the matter is that renewable energy represents North Carolina’s future — both for its economy and its environment. And no amount of fossil fuel industry funded propaganda is going to change this reality.

13 Comments


  1. Travis Lewis

    July 22, 2015 at 11:16 am

    Your analysis about “saving consumers millions” is from an advocacy group funded by the solar industry. Isn’t that just as bad as when you say that groups like AFP are funded by “fossil-fuel interests”? Please be intellectually honest.

    A report from the state is nothing to sniff at. You say it’s misleading, but you’re too far into the debate now to say “misleading” without providing analysis why.

  2. Rob Schofield

    July 22, 2015 at 12:37 pm

    The confirmation of REPS-generated savings comes from experts at RTI and the NC Utilities Commission. It’s been endorsed by Google, Facebook and Apple. Watch this video:
    http://www.ncpolicywatch.com/videos/will-lawmakers-bust-north-carolinas-clean-energy-boom/

    The facts sited about our already lower-than-average rates comes from the federal government!

  3. LayintheSmakDown

    July 22, 2015 at 1:04 pm

    Travis, the arguments made against others cannot be used against progressive causes. You have not been around long, but they disregard who is funding the studies when they agree with the cause. Now if the Kochtopus had been saying this same thing, you could be sure that Rob here would come in on the opposite side of things. The fact that Big Solar is paying for all these “studies” does not matter.

  4. Steve Harrison

    July 22, 2015 at 3:09 pm

    And even when the trolls are shown to be wrong, they still persist with their logical fallacies in a lame attempt to muddy the waters and protect polluters and other corporate profiteers who would drown said trolls in their own tainted creeks (trolls live under bridges) if it would enhance the corporate bottom line by .02 percent.

  5. ncsense

    July 22, 2015 at 4:27 pm

    All you have to do is look on your electric bill to see exactly how much you are paying for the energy Duke Energy, Progress and other large utilities are providing from renewable sources. It is broken out as a specific rider and is less that $1 per month for residential Duke Energy/Progress customers. Since the state’s renewable energy portfolio standard went into effect, the rider for residential customers has mostly been well below $1 a month; it was 22 cents a month in 2014. It is ridiculous that we can’t have a sensible discussion of energy policy in this state because oil and coal interests (with Americans for Prosperity as a mouthpiece) can persuade elected officials in a state with no oil and gas — but a bright future in renewables– to vote against their constituents’ interests.

  6. LayintheSmakDown

    July 22, 2015 at 5:19 pm

    Steve, the problem is that the “facts” as you and others present them are funded by groups with skin in the game. Why is it that in almost any other case other than this and globalclimatewarmingchange you illiberals are all in a tizzy about who funds studies, but when it is Big Solar you look the other way. RTI is a decidedly liberal think tank, and NC Utilities commission wants to keep their government gimmies.
    ….
    What is hilarious is that the article is attempting to discredit certain sources, but the Robbie quotes his own discredited sources. That is quite rich indeed!

  7. LayintheSmakDown

    July 22, 2015 at 5:38 pm

    And NCSense, you need to research what the REPS charge is actually for. That is a charge for meeting the requirements of the law. Basically passing on the cost of investing in the clean energy schemes. Your price for kilowatt hour is calculated including the high cost solar or other source electricity. Your increase is concealed in the myriad of rate schedules…that way it is hard to find your true increase.

  8. Steve Harrison

    July 22, 2015 at 6:37 pm

    I’ve been reading the NC Justice Center’s research and evaluation for years, and I have an extremely high level of confidence in their findings. And as a blogger, I’ve picked up some of their habits, like favoring primary sources and doing my due diligence in pursuit of accuracy. That doesn’t mean we don’t make mistakes, but it does mean we do our homework, something that AFP and other fossil-fuel-funded groups are allergic to. Big oil spends hundreds of millions each year creating a pseudo-scientific smokescreen, and they do this because they get billions in subsidies and are given carte blanche to engage in whatever nightmare energy development projects they see fit. And as long as that persists, we’re going to continue to call them out for it.

  9. ncsense

    July 22, 2015 at 9:25 pm

    LSD — I know exactly what the REPS rider covers. It covers ALL of the incremental cost to the utility of meeting the REPS goals. That means all costs in excess of costs avoided by substituting renewable energy generation for conventional coal/natural gas generation. (So if renewables make it unnecessary for the utility to expand a coal-fired generation facility to meet demand, the rider covers any cost over and above the savings realized by not having to expand the coal-fired plant.) The rider can also cover utility company research into renewable energy generation. Nothing is “hidden” in the base rates other than costs that would have been there whether the REPS requirement existed or not.

  10. LayintheSmakDown

    July 23, 2015 at 10:20 am

    NC Sense..you are just wrong. But as I see from the progressives in the comments you are fine with being wrong. There is a difference in recovering the cost to implement the law and the charges for electricity. Just check out the Duke/Progress materials or even google several electricity providers as I did and you will see…that is if you are intelligent enough to understand the disclosures in the financial statements.
    ….
    Steve, like NC above you can also go on in your ignorance. I have found that little produced by the Justice Center is anything but partisan spin as handed down by the Soros/Reynolds cabal of radical progressive propaganda. I am sure they start with some kind of fact, but then spin it to where the conclusion is not recognizable to anyone with a critical mind. Assuming these are your sources for blogging, I am glad I do not know of or read said blog as I only need one blog (the pulse) that specializes in fiction.

  11. ncsense

    July 23, 2015 at 1:36 pm

    LSD — Or maybe you could read the actual law and the utility commission rules that are very clear about what the rider can and cannot cover. (Which happens to be exactly what I described.) The rider covers the cost of providing electricity to consumers from renewable energy sources and the cost of research into renewable energy sources. If you believe there are other costs of implementing the law that are unique to renewable energy generation and don’t show up in the rider, it would be helpful to know what those are.

  12. LayintheSmakDown

    July 24, 2015 at 10:32 am

    I have read the financial statements…where the companies disclose what they are charging for. I think they know much better what they are using it for than the law. And from your comment, you are just reading it wrong. The cost of providing is the INVESTMENT not the power charge. As with most progressive spin, you can believe what you want but that does not make it true.

    Just think about it, if 5-10% of your power on a $100 power bill is from renewables….there is no way it is $.22. I know it is hard to push that narrative to the side in your head, but just think about the number, and does it make sense. Even at 1% that is $1 and not $0.22.

  13. […] More on Koch group's dishonest attack on renewable energy As was explained in this space yesterday, AFP made the absurd claim that North Carolina's Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard — a modest law designed to help North Carolina begin to kick its heroin-like addiction to fossil fuels — “strangles” the … Read more on The Progressive Pulse […]

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