Louisiana Saying No To Renewable Energy Mandates

Energy & Environment, Featured, Pelican Site Featured — By on August 22, 2011 6:30 am
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Limited potential and cheaper alternatives cited by experts as main reasons for avoiding mandates

NEW ORLEANS, La. - Louisiana and seven other Southeastern states consistently refuse to impose renewable energy mandates on electric companies.

Louisiana, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, South Carolina and Tennessee are the only states to avoid imposing mandatory and voluntary alternative energy quotas on utility companies.

For example, New York policymakers mandated that energy companies either pay stiff fines or generate 25 percent of their electricity through renewable energy sources by 2013, while in North Dakota, utility companies have voluntary programs that do not include penalties.

William Yeatman, an energy policy analyst for the Competitive Enterprise Institute, contends that Southeastern states do not have as much renewable energy potential as the rest of the country.

“The Southeast has the lowest wind energy potential of all regions, and wind is the energy source that is used to achieve virtually all renewable electricity mandates in the U.S.”

However, Yeatman says that even though the Southeast has limited renewable energy potential, that does not mean renewable energy mandates are a good idea in the northwest, northeast or the southwest, rather, “It is to say that renewable energy is even more uneconomical in the southeast than in the rest of the country.”

Robert Bradley, CEO and founder of the Institute for Energy Research, affirms that, “It is a competitive advantage that Louisiana is energy clean when it comes to politically forced energies.”

This competitive advantage is evident in the prices residents in Louisiana and other Southeastern states pay for energy. The Southeast has some of the lowest electricity bills in the country, thus making politicians skeptical of imposing government mandates, which would raise costs for power companies and raise prices for consumers.

Dr. Walter Block, economics professor at Loyola University, claims that customers should have a choice between traditional and renewable energy sources.

“Nuclear, coal, oil and gas are far cheaper than wind, water, solar and geothermal. The only reason the latter are used at all is because of heavy subsidies, and taxes on the former.”

In 2009, Louisiana ranked 30th in the country for renewable energy by generating only 4 percent of their energy from renewable sources, mainly from wood waste and hydro conventional plants.

However, the Department of Energy recently awarded Louisiana State University $997,000 for a project to evaluate the feasibility of an advanced geothermal energy project in the Pelican state.

The only Southeastern state to mandate that electricity companies generate a certain portion of their power from renewable sources is North Carolina, who, in 2007, passed a law requiring municipal power companies and cooperatives to get 10 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2018.

 

Robert Ross is a researcher and social media strategist with the Pelican Institute for Public Policy. He can be contacted at rross@pelicaninstitute.org, and you can follow him on twitter.

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  • Anonymous

    Forced investment in renewable energy sources that are not economic are one more example of poor fiscal management by our government.  Left alone, the development would happen at the right time… In other words, when existing energy sources approach depletion and increase in cost, the free market will determine at what point alternative energy sources become cost effective, and the economic incentive will drive the development accordingly.  

    Good Grief…

    • Frank Lee

      There is a distinct difference between forced, or enforced compliance, and incentivized compliance. We need not go the route of enforced mandates, but rather we can elect to go the route of incentives programs for switching to renewable resources.

      So often people get stuck in the mindset of mutual exclusivity, never bothering to step outside the box and consider alternatives.

      • Anonymous

        Well, Frank, the way I see it incentivized compliance is nothing more than a subsidy in sheep’s clothing.  Just who do you think pays for the incentive?  The incentives are funded by our tax dollars to pursue efforts that otherwise would not be economic, the very definition of a waste of money. The pursuit of things that are not economic to achieve a non-essential objective is a luxury that can be afforded by a society flush with cash.  In the current debt situation that our country has chosen to put itself in, incentivizing unnecessary shifts in energy sources is pure folly.

        • Frank Lee

          Well, Grief, (hey, you chose the name, not me) Have you looked around the world recently? There isn’t a nation on this planet who isn’t deeply in debt. So, if every nation in the world is in debt, just exactly who are they all indebted to? They can’t all be indebted to each other. That is simply a fiscal impossibility. The FED, the IMF, and the BofE are owned, not by governments, by by private institutions. All of the “cash” you are speaking of, is being consolidated into the hands of a very greedy and powerful few. Meanwhile, we, on the bottom tier of all this are playing the game for those larger institutions. People with very little money of their own, are being so sold on this big lie of debt that we find our hands securely bound when it comes to any notion of changing this situation.

          The number one economic motivator is energy. Peak oil already occurred globally. Despite the fact that it is a high energy yield, that yield will diminish greatly over the next few years. Meanwhile, people are struggling to try to figure out how to save our “precious” money/market system. Others are busily working on ideas for a new way of managing resources.

          When it comes down to it, an economy is all about managing resources. Our current system is doing a piss poor job of this. We have created an economy of growth, which is detrimental. Anyone with half a brain cell can quickly arrive at this conclusion after thinking about it for more than two minutes at a time(roughly the attention span of the average American).

          The debt, as it currently stands, could not possibly be paid back in a single life time, much less the ten year span that is projected and preferred. Everyone can blame Obama all they want. But, he didn’t create this mess alone… he had a lot of help from the Bush administration, and several others before him. Balancing the budget in America has, for a long time now, involved advancing that debt forward(putting off till tomorrow, what should be resolved today).

          Since energy is such a major economic driver, and since it is so vitally important to anyone living to day, and in years to come, the responsible thing to do right now is to not concern ourselves with a bunch of artificial number that mean NOTHING, and work toward taking care of the future. This involves getting into clean renewable sources of energy, by whatever means necessary.

          There are plans which are very viable, and workable, if everyone will stop listening to the bought and paid for lackeys of the international banking systems, such as the “good” congressman, and start listening to the scientists who are working on developing technologies that will benefit all of mankind, rather than just a few at the top of the monetary ladder.

          • Anonymous

            I readily admit that I don’t know as much about the world as you think you do.  Are you saying that ALL countries are in debt?  Seems I’ve heard quite a bit about China holding a lot of our debt, which to me doesn’t sound like a very good thing.  And I’m not sure who is consolidating the cash, but if you think the push for “green” energy doesn’t involve some big players who are manipulating energy policy to their own benefit, you had better wake up and smell the ethanol.  Surely you won’t deny that there are “bought and paid for lackeys” on both sides…

            While renewable fuels ARE a worthy objective, the accelerated pursuit of this objective is all about one thing: money.  And the hype rallying the tree-hugging, emotional (not scientific or economic) troops is more delusional than the larger institution conspiracy you say exists, and preys on the very two minute attention span you describe.  If our government had leaders as the key players instead of politicians, we may not be having this discussion.

            I don’t understand why everybody thinks oil is associated with evil things, and “green” energy is not.  It should simply be a matter of using the most efficient (least expensive) fuels while they are available, and allowing for an orderly transition to the next fuels when the economics dictate.    Some foresight and advance development is warranted to make sure the technology will be available in the necessary time frame, but not to the extent being mandated by the government or insisted upon by the “green” community.  That is my primary objection to the renewable fuels mandate – it is simply one more inefficiency generated by government through the influence of lobbyists for ADM and their ilk who will benefit from the mandate.  So I agree with your view that our system (government) is doing a piss poor job of managing resources – specifically, our financial, energy and human resources.

            On the subject of the national debt, I never blamed Obama.  I blame our system of government that rewards politicians with re-election for 1) short term thinking (bringing non-essential projects home to constituents, handing out more entitlements, etc.), 2) unfair tax policies (people who pay no taxes have no up-close-and-personal reason to insist that the government stop spending), and 3) other actions that are based on addressing emotional issues rather than the business of running a country in a fiscally responsible manner.  Until we elect leaders to run our country, we will continue to struggle with political conflict over what should simply be logical decisions.

            And I never said the national debt should be paid off in ten years.  But the debt DOES need to stop growing first (can you say balanced budget amendment), and it DOES need to be reduced through a combination of reduced spending (primarily) and a revitalized tax code (everyone needs to pay SOME taxes so they’ll have skin in the game – this will correct a lot of things).  So I agree with you again – we need to stop advancing the debt and resolve the fiscal policy today to ultimately have a financially strong country again. Debt, in and of itself, is actually a useful financial tool when used responsibly.  But I think we need to initiate an intervention and take the government’s credit cards away until they pay off their debt and prove that they can handle credit responsibly!

            Someone said yesterday that the earthquakes near our nation’s capital are caused by our founding fathers rolling over in their graves.  Makes perfect sense to me; this country has clearly devolved into something of which they never would have approved.

            Good Grief…

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  • Frank Lee

    Apparently the “good” congressman, has never considered geothermal as a potential renewable energy resource for the state of Louisiana. Geo thermal plants could not only be used for producing renewable clean energy for the state, but, would put lots of Louisiana residents to work building and manning those power plants. Geothermal could also, likely be used, with a few modifications to the system, to desalinate water, another commodity which should be abundant, but is disappearing, being fresh water supplies.

    With the recent work begun, or soon to begin fracking for oil, which will further destroy the fresh water supply as all those chemical seep into the water table , which is already incredibly close to the surface in the lower half of the state. There are nearly as many chemical compounds in use in the process of fracking as there are naturally occurring elements on the periodic table. The vast majority of those chemical compounds are known to be carcinogenic(cause cancer, and other nasty diseases).

    Does the good congressman deem it so important to line his deep pockets that he is willing to sacrifice the welfare of his family friends, and constituents? Is he operating from the notion that we can always clean up the mess later?

    Yes, adding renewable energy to our resources would likely be costly in terms of money, in the beginning. However, renewable energy sources can and will pay for themselves in the long run, leading to cheaper and cheaper energy costs, and much lower environmental impact.

    • Anonymous

      If renewable energy sources were cost effective, they would be in wide use today.  For a very thorough and practical analysis of current and future energy issues, I’d suggest reading the book entitled “Power Hungry – The Myths of ‘Green’ Energy and the Real Fuels of the Future” by Robert Bryce.  If you’re open-minded, that is…  

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