Wind and Sun Have Washington Connections

The following graphic from the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency color codes the states that have a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) or that have a goal to get an RPS in red and orange respectively.  Those states colored in white do not currently have an RPS or an intention of implementing one.


So what’s the conservative approach to all the red, orange, and white?

If a state wants to have an RPS, that’s their (inefficient) prerogative!  What is problematic is that federal law requires all taxpayers to fund their renewable energy projects.  That is contrary to free market principles and relies on a “system where an industry’s success depends more on its connections in Washington than on its ability to provide a product that adds value in one way or another.”

Wind and solar energy are not viable in today’s energy market.  So if people want to use these as their preferred source of energy they should be willing to pay the premium for it.

Moreover, the residents of Florida or Georgia or any state that does not have a RPS are forced to subsidize people in other states that are receiving those funds.  This example demonstrates why it would be best for states to decide which energy policies they would like instead of Washington imposing anti-market policies across the board.

In addition to this, Heritage’s Nick Loris refutes the myth that renewable energy totally depends upon subsidies to remain in existence.  Loris points to a letter from the governors of Kansas and Iowa, “two states that stand to benefit from the extension of the wind PTC,” which states “a recent report completed by Navigant finds that an expiration of the PTC would lead to a nearly fifty percent decrease in the number of wind energy jobs.”

Instead of falling for this plea for continued subsidies, Loris comes to a better conclusion about PTCs:

“If Navigant’s numbers are accurate, it means two things: First, the subsidy has been artificially propping up jobs in the industry and has shifted labor and capital away from other, more productive sectors of the economy. Secondly, wind can compete without subsidies, since the entire industry isn’t going to disappear.”

Rather than prop up these inefficient energy projects on the backs of taxpayers, energy sources of all kinds should be used only when the market creates a real demand for them, not a government manufactured demand.

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