Entrepreneurial Subsidy-Seekers

Posted in Weekly Newsletter on by .

generationBack in June, the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the average price of electricity for U.S. end-use consumers reached 14.3 cents per kilowatt-hour.  According to the BLS, that’s an all-time high. It hasn’t come down and there’s no reason to expect it will.

It won’t come down because the people responsible for U.S. energy policies don’t want it to.  Remember Barack Obama to the San Francisco Chronicle editorial board, January 2008?  “My policy of a cap-and-trade system will cause electricity prices to necessarily skyrocket.”

They’ve hardly begun, and now subsidy-seeking activists are campaigning to bring even more costly electricity to Wisconsin through “third-party ownership.”

The typical deal: Developers put solar panels on your roof and you get free or reduced-cost electricity. But the developers aren’t there to do you a favor. They’re there to use your real estate as a base to generate surplus power that the incumbent utility is required to buy at full retail rates, subsidized by its customers.

The customers—including you—remain responsible for the expense of maintaining the utility system so you still have power when an overcast or six inches of snow or—heaven forbid—nightfall darkens your solar array.

Months ago we lamented Tea Party groups in other states falling for green energy activists peddling third-party ownership as a free-market alternative to monopoly utilities. It’s bad enough when left-wing crony capitalists line their pockets making other people pay for more expensive, less reliable energy; it’s galling when Conservative groups, dazzled by the shiny object of “free-market” rhetoric, pitch in to help.

Subsidy-seeking green energy developers made a preliminary pass at the Wisconsin Legislature last year and they’ll be back in 2015 to write third-party ownership into the statutes. It’s not too early to wish them bad luck.

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