Virginia proposes repealing some state renewable-energy incentives
posted at 8:11 pm on January 16, 2013 by Erika Johnsen
Like many states, Virginia has implemented certain tax breaks, quotas, and/or incentives on behalf of particular green technologies over the years, not because it was a legitimately excellent idea (read: California), but because it was just the vogue political thing to do at the time. Now that the economy is decidedly on the strugglebus and incomes are shrinking, of course, Virginia is wondering if perhaps it isn’t time to reevaluate the pragmatism of high-minded yet ill-thought-out regulatory and financial interference that has failed to provide any demonstrable environmental benefits and created costly consequences for the state’s consumers, reports WaPo:
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and the state’s largest electric utilities are proposing to repeal financial incentives for using renewable energy after a report last year found that the millions of dollars in bonuses haven’t yielded the intended environmental gains and have contributed to increases in customer bills.
Under the agreement announced Tuesday by the attorney general’s office, Dominion Virginia Power and Appalachian Power would no longer be eligible to receive the bonuses called “adders” for using sources of renewable energy or building new power plants that use fossil fuels. Incentives will still remain for nuclear and offshore wind, but the bonuses would be reduced.
The agreement does not, however, repeal the state’s voluntary goals that utilities have 15 percent of their generation coming from renewable sources by 2025. And utilities can still seek to recover the costs related to reaching those goals, officials said.
The move would save Dominion customers $38.5 million and Appalachian Power customers $7.75 million annually through 2025, the attorney general’s office said.
With all of Virginia’s newfound purplishness, Cuccinelli is likely looking at a heated contest against Democrat Terry McAuliffe; the very, very preliminary polling is already indicating what could be a neck-and-neck race with a lot of undecideds (because, “independence” — all the cool kids are doing it, you know).
The expensive costs and cronyish tendencies of renewables’ special treatment on the federal level was a big issue for grassroots conservatives during the presidential election cycle, and no doubt Cuccinelli is hoping to capitalize on some of that indignation by touting this as part of a pro-growth platform of fiscal sustainability (similarly, he recently won a big case against the oversteppin’ EPA that we Virginians will almost certainly be hearing about again before the gubernatorial election this November) — and I am for it. Again, I have nothing against renewable energy on principle, but I most certainly do have something against quixotically jacking up my tax burden and my utility bills (which has a disproportionate impact on those who can least afford it, by the way!) for the sake of defiantly propping up politically-favored pet technologies that have not passed the test of voluntary mass consumption or price efficiency in the free market. That is all.