In the light of day, that solar plan looks like cap-and-trade

In the light of day, that solar plan looks like cap-and-trade

August 03, 2012
Originally published in The Star-Ledger

From Paul Mulshine's column in The Star Ledger:

That’s a bailout. On that Myron Ebell of the conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute is in agreement with the liberals at the Daily Kos. “When Christie gives his keynote speech at the Republican convention, he’s not likely to bring this stuff up,” said Ebell when I called him yesterday at his Washington office. “If he does so, he’s likely to be booed.”

That’s because when you slice through all the verbiage in the 37-page bill, it’s really just another attempt at putting together a cap-and-trade approach to reducing greenhouse gases.

“It’s a way to raise electricity prices so that the more expensive forms of electricity become competitive with conventional forms,” he said. “That’s what cap-and-trade does as well.”

The cost of those SRECs drives up electricity rates. And New Jersey’s rates are too high already, said Ebell. They’re almost double Indiana’s. That creates yet another incentive for manufacturers not to put their plants in the Garden State.

As for those businesses that are already here and are collecting subsidies for those solar arrays, Ebell again agrees with the Daily Kos. This is an example of crony capitalism.

“These wind and solar farms are designed for very wealthy people to invest in something with a guaranteed return on investment,” he said. “It’s a way for 20 or 30 people to form a partnership and basically plunder the local population with higher electricity rates.”

That brings up what is expected to be a key salient in Romney’s attack on Obama this fall. In January of 2008 in a moment caught on YouTube, Obama explained that under his cap-and-trade system, “electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.”

He went on to say that plan would artificially increase the cost of power derived from coal and natural gas until it equaled the cost of wind and solar. The bill Christie signed achieves the same goal in a slightly different way.

So the Daily Kos is right. When it comes to energy policy, the GOP keynote speaker might as well be kicking off the Democratic convention.