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Monday, November 08, 2010

FERC's New Proposal to Hike Electric Prices

When Massachusetts' Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs describes a new cost sharing proposal of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) as a "radical Soviet-style approach to transmission planning," you know there is something deeply troubling about it. From the WSJ:

How would you like to pay higher utility bills to finance expensive electricity from solar and wind power, which you would never use? That's the issue now before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), and it deserves more public and political scrutiny before it becomes a reality.

FERC has a draft rule that could effectively socialize the costs of paying for multi-billion dollar transmission lines to connect remote wind and solar projects to the nation's electric power grid. If FERC rules in favor of Big Wind and Big Solar, the new policy would add billions of dollars onto the utility bills of residents of at least a dozen states—including California, Michigan, Oregon and New York—that will receive little or no benefit from the new power lines.

...Very big dollars are at stake in this fight. By some estimates the cost of building out new transmission lines to accommodate renewable energy and other new electric power sources could exceed $160 billion. Wind and solar proponents insist that renewable energy standards can only be reached if transmission costs are shared by everybody. This sounds like an admission that these energy sources are inefficient sources of power that can't compete in the marketplace without subsidies.

Let's hope this proposal gets stopped dead before Obama makes good on his promise to "necessarily hike the cost of electricity."