Report Confronts Conservative Claims on Solar, Wind

March 13, 2015

By Alan Neuhauser |

Stop us if you’ve heard this before: “Just say no.”

That’s the slo­gan of some con­ser­v­a­tive law­mak­ers who are urg­ing states to resist a pro­posed fed­eral rule lim­it­ing car­bon emis­sions from exist­ing power plants.

The mea­sure, the Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency’s Clean Power Plan, would drive up elec­tric­ity rates and under­cut reli­a­bil­ity, oppo­nents allege.

The Obama administration’s so-​​called ‘clean power’ reg­u­la­tion seeks to shut down more of America’s power gen­er­a­tion under the guise of pro­tect­ing the cli­mate,” Sen­ate Major­ity Leader Mitch McConnell, R-​​Ky., wrote in a March 3 op-​​ed in the Lex­ing­ton Herald-​​Leader. “States report that the regulation’s man­dates are not tech­no­log­i­cally achiev­able, can­not be imple­mented under rushed time­lines and threaten both state economies and energy reli­a­bil­ity for families.”

The argu­ments echo those by Amer­i­cans for Pros­per­ity, a polit­i­cal advo­cacy group backed by bil­lion­aire indus­tri­al­ists Charles and David Koch. Yet, just like that group’s claim that “there is great con­tro­ver­sary [sic] as to whether global warm­ing is actu­ally hap­pen­ing,” it’s a nar­ra­tive that may be mis­guided, accord­ing to a report pub­lished this week.

In states that led in renew­able elec­tric­ity gen­er­a­tion, retail energy prices were ini­tially higher than the national aver­age, but soon became com­par­a­tively cheaper.

The analy­sis by ven­ture cap­i­tal firm DBL Investors found that states with the high­est pro­por­tion of elec­tric­ity gen­er­a­tion from renew­able sources like solar and wind actu­ally expe­ri­enced cheaper-​​than-​​average retail prices com­pared to states with the small­est shares of green energy.

Look­ing ahead, retail elec­tric­ity prices and the entire elec­tric­ity mar­ket are ripe for change,” DBL man­ag­ing part­ner and report co-​​author Nancy Pfund said in a state­ment. “Reliance on renew­ables will con­tinue to grow as their costs decline, and as states shift away from a fos­sil fuels focus and move towards a cleaner energy future.”

It’s worth not­ing DBL is a firm that specif­i­cally backs clean energy com­pa­nies. Yet its report – which com­pared the 10 states with the great­est share of renew­able elec­tric­ity gen­er­a­tion to the 10 with the least – did find a marked dif­fer­ence between the two groups.

To read the full arti­cle, visit U.S. News & World Report.