Green revolution is subsidiized by taxpayers and electric users

Here’s a tidbit from one of our greatest presidents, Ronald Reagan, that seems timely: “Government does not solve problems, it subsidizes them.”

The most obvious example is the green energy sting that is strapped cheek-to-cheek with one of the largest programs of civil-rights reduction in the last 40 years: the globalwarming industry.

Many will assume I’m referring to the Solyndra solar energy debacle, where that California company went bankrupt after receiving over $500 million in government subsidies. Unfortunately, these types of boondoggles and income-redistribution schemes masquerading as energy policies appear in our state and some may have showed up in your mail.

Colorado’s Public Utilities Commission is supposedly in the business of finding the cheapest and best application of energy for Colorado consumers. Instead, it has become a tool of the last two governors and a formerly Democraticcontrolled state Legislature to act as a funnel for reckless experimenting with energy alternatives and funding them with questionable rate structures. The result is to redistribute wealth from even middle-income consumers into inefficient, unproven technologies.

Let’s take a look at one that runs from June through September, the two-tiered rate system put in place by Xcel Energy to harvest revenue to comply with green-energy directives from the Legislature. As you examine your electric bill, you will see that once you exceed 500 kilowatt hours of consumption in a given month, the rate at which you are charged for power doubles.

Allegedly, this was to increase conservation, stop brownouts, etc. It really is an attempt to pay for reaching benchmarks associated with “renewable energy” standards that seek to satisfy a small but powerful environmentalist constituency.

What was seen as a tax on the rich, people with large homes and air-conditioning, has not turned out to be the case. The Colorado Consumer Coalition points out that Xcel has admitted its average residential ratepayer uses 632 kilowatt hours a month. This means that this increased rate is affecting 840,000 users.

Remember, people who exceed this artificial threshold are not just paying more for using more; they’re paying more per unit they use. For example, suppose the state decided that 20 gallons of gas was plenty for you to use each month, but you had the audacity to take a job far from your home or have a car that didn’t get very good mileage. With a gasoline variation of Xcel’s rate plan, you might be charged $3.20 per gallon up to 20 gallons of gas and then $6.40 per gallon for each one that exceeded your allotment.

Meanwhile, folks in Pueblo were recently told their power bill is expected to be raised 19 percent to pay for a $470 million, gas-fired electrical plant following a mandated switch from mean old coal to slightly less horrible natural gas — to generate all that power we apparently shouldn’t be using anyway.

Large-scale solar power is another green industry that would not exist to any significant degree without direct or indirect taxpayer subsidy. As Todd Shepherd, writing at CompleteColorado.com, observed, the solar panels that were visited by President Obama on top of the Denver Museum of Science, are owned by another company that received rebates from Xcel and incentives from the state and federal government. Shepherd reports the rebates were, “funded by a surcharge collected on the monthly bill of every Colorado Xcel customer.” The vice president of the museum is quoted as saying that the panels will take 110 years to pay back their cost. It was observed that the lifespan of such solar panels is probably less than 30 years.

Need some more? From denvergov.org in 2010, “The Colorado Governor’s Energy Office is receiving $963,000 in federal stimulus funds to expand weatherization training programs and establish a new training center in Denver.” Not even actual weatherization, just training for it.

And finally, try this sentence from an August Denver Post story, ” A Colorado Department of Corrections program is now teaching career skills in renewable energy fields to inmates whose pre-arrest job capabilities may have become obsolete while they have been in prison.”

After that, there is little I could add.

Rick Wagner offers more thoughts on politics at his blog, The War on Wrong.


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