Koch Bros. and ALEC Shout From the Rooftops: “Stop Rooftop Solar!”
See if this paragraph from a recent article sounds familiar.
[Arizona] Utilities argue that rules allowing private solar customers to sell excess power back to the grid at the retail price — a practice known as net metering — can be unfair to homeowners who do not want or cannot afford their own solar installations.
It sounds like a statement straight from the Arizona Corporation Commission’s argument to lower the amount of money rooftop solar owners get when they sell power to utilities, but it isn’t. I added [Arizona] to a paragraph from an article in the Sunday New York Times: Rooftop Solar Dims Under Pressure From Utility Lobbyists. The article mentions Arizona, but it’s about the nationwide push to make rooftop solar less attractive so utilities can continue to make money without competition from individual home owners. (Deep down, you knew our Corporation Commissioners aren’t bright enough to come up with this on their own, right?)
How’s the lobbying going? Apparently, quite well.
Their effort has met with considerable success, dimming the prospects for renewable energy across the United States.
Prodded in part by the utilities’ campaign, nearly every state in the country is engaged in a review of its solar energy policies. Since 2013, Hawaii, Nevada, Arizona, Maine and Indiana have decided to phase out net metering, crippling programs that spurred explosive growth in the rooftop solar market. (Nevada recently reversed its decision.)
Spearheading the effort is the top energy lobbyist, Edison Electric Institute. Courtesy of the Trump administration, EEI now has close friends in high places. Trump’s energy secretary, dim-bulb Rick Perry, is giving lots of power to his brighter and more knowledgeable chief of staff, Brian McCormack, who used to be the top executive at EEI. McCormack is the head of an energy department study looking into—I’m not making this up—ways renewable energy could be hurting the coal, oil and gas industries. One of the hallmarks of capitalist theory is that competition leads to progress and benefits to consumers, but Perry and the current administration seem to be fond of protective socialism for utility companies.