Commentary

The actual “morally repugnant” position on clean energy

The fossil fuel defenders at the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity are out with another “you can’t make this stuff up” claim in their never-ending battle to kill sustainable energy. Last week, the group issued a statement in which it made the following amazing claim:

“It’s time for lawmakers to make responsible decisions about the future of North Carolina’s electrical grid. The subsidies and mandates for expensive, so-called green energy are no longer a sustainable path or an acceptable burden for taxpayers. Americans for Prosperity has advocated separately for the end of North Carolina’s renewable energy tax credit and the Renewable Portfolio Standard. It is morally repugnant that some lawmakers are now trying to maintain both costly laws.”

Uh…Earth to AFP: Here’s what’s “morally repugnant” when it comes to the planet’s consumption of energy: the hundreds of billions of dollars that all of us pay to deal with the destructive impact of fossil fuels. As we reported back in May:

“Fossil fuels aren’t cheaper than renewables. As a new and powerful report from the International Monetary Fund demonstrates convincingly, the true cost of fossil fuels to society is vastly higher when one figures in the massive public subsidies that are expended in the form of environmental damage, health impacts and the public costs of dealing with both.

As CNBC reported Monday:

‘Governments around the world charge prices for energy that do not account for its harmful environmental, health and other side effects, amounting to a $5.3 trillion ‘post-tax’ subsidy this year, the International Monetary Fund said in a report on Monday.

The IMF said China in particular failed to charge its more than 1 billion consumers for the pollution that comes from heavy use of fossil fuels, adding up to a $2.3 trillion subsidy this year.

The United States was the second-biggest offender, with an estimated $699 billion subsidy, followed by Russia, the European Union, India and Japan.’

You got that? The nations of the world are effectively spending around 6.5% of their gross domestic product dealing with the effects of fossil fuel pollution, but because most fail to include it in the upfront price charged for fossil fuels, we labor under a wildly false impression of their true cost. If the Americans built an extra $699 billion per year into the upfront price of fossil fuels instead of just paying it later, you can rest assured that the “free market” would produce some different results. In comparison, the subsidies provided to the renewable energy industry – an industry with a comparatively tiny environmental impact – are laughably insignificant.”

9 Comments


  1. Gene Hoglan

    September 1, 2015 at 12:53 pm

    One has to wonder why AFP and the rest of the Kochsuckers hate the US Department of Defense, which is the largest investor in renewable energy. Maybe they hate America and root for us to fail.

  2. ncsense

    September 1, 2015 at 7:01 pm

    It is beyond ridiculous. The last renewable energy fee approved by the N.C. Utilities Commission under the State’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (which requires the electric utilities to generate an increasing percentage of electric power from renewables) was 30 cents a month for residential customers. It may go up somewhat in the future, but the REPS law caps the fee. The renewable energy fee is dwarfed by the 7 1/2 % tax the General Assembly added to utility bills last session.

  3. LayintheSmakDown

    September 1, 2015 at 7:33 pm

    Oh, and NCSENSE…if you look at the REPS that does not include the increase in expense for power generation. That huge increase is buried in your Kwh elsewhere on your bill. The REPS is only to recoup some of the costs of building up the infrastructure to connect to the “green” power. This is disclosed in the financial statements of some utilities in the state. IF you are curious you can google some of the companies and peruse the filings.

  4. LayintheSmakDown

    September 1, 2015 at 8:01 pm

    Yeah, I wouldn’t get too high and mighty about the solar panel production industry. They are not much different from the oil industry, if not worse if you consider the efficiency of the energy source.

    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/energy/2014/11/141111-solar-panel-manufacturing-sustainability-ranking/

  5. LayintheSmakDown

    September 1, 2015 at 8:01 pm

  6. LayintheSmakDown

    September 1, 2015 at 8:02 pm

  7. LayintheSmakDown

    September 1, 2015 at 8:02 pm

  8. Travis Lewis

    September 1, 2015 at 9:02 pm

    @NCSENSE: Your facts are false. Looking at my bill right now and the “REPS Rider Fee” is 83 cents and I have a modestly sized home.
    Let’s say all 4.5 million pay a rider fee that is 70 cents (I’ll come down from mine, for argument’s sake). That means that $37.8M is coming out of our economy to pay for the renewable energy rider fee every year because of the REPS.
    That is a lot of full-time manufacturing jobs, or teaching assistants, or pay increases for state health workers, or even groceries for North Carolina families.
    Instead that money is flowing back through Duke Energy to be paid to solar panel companies. Sounds like crony capitalism to me – especially since those companies already get a huge tax credit.

  9. LayintheSmakDown

    September 2, 2015 at 10:10 am

    Travis, also remember you have not included the higher price of the power that is not included in the REPS fee. At a minimum you can double your $37 million when the incremental price of the power is added in.

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