Bob Robb is wrong and clean energy rocks.

04 Sep 2012 09:49 am
Posted by: Donna

solar panel

I promised a post after the primary rebutting Robert Robb’s August 25th AZ Republic column where he disparaged renewable energy.

Obama has pursued policies that would drive up electricity prices. These include subsidies for higher-cost, less-efficient sources, such as solar and wind. And policies, such as cap-and-trade and keeping federal lands off-limits to development for oil and natural gas, that disadvantage cheaper, more reliable traditional sources.

There’s no evidence that pursuing renewable energy raises energy rates to an appreciable degree. Lawrence Berkeley National Lab concluded in 2008 that states with RES experienced a 1% rate impact.

The electricity rate increases associated with existing state RES policies, for those states in which such impacts are readily calculable, generally equal 1% or less so far; in several states, the renewable electricity required by these policies appears to be priced competitively with fossil generation.

Furthermore, there’s a far lower external cost associated with renewable energy production: no coal ash, acid rain, nuclear waste, respiratory health problems, etc. Solar doesn’t require expensive pipelines, railroads, emission controls, and a lot of water either. Nor does it require fuel. Coal, natural gas, and uranium account for 30% of rates and most of that money goes to the other states we purchase them from.

Back to Robb:

But whoever is elected to the Arizona Corporation Commission will have zero influence on these national policies. Burns, Stump and Bitter Smith will have no greater ability to stop Obama’s energy policies if they are elected than if they are not.

But here’s what’s really curious. In Arizona, it has been Republicans leading the way on subsidies for higher-cost, less-efficient solar and wind power.

Bzzzzt! To the contrary, under the leadership of Commissioners Gary Pierce and Brenda Burns solar rebates have been slashed 90%, from $3 per watt to 30 cents per watt. It has really put a damper on Arizona’s burgeoning solar industry, thus demonstrating the stunning economic ineptitude of Republicans yet again. The Commission also cut $19M from the Renewable Energy Standard for 2012, resulting in a massive monthly savings of 20 cents per customer. Robb should really be ecstatic about what they’re doing, since Republicans are doing exactly what he thinks they should be doing – cutting renewable energy investments while favoring traditional sources. I suppose he won’t be happy until all subsidies for commie hippie solar energy (which is hugely popular here) are gone and every bit of public land is open to his beloved drilling and fracking.


  1. Comment by AZVoter on September 4, 2012 11:41 am

    How are solar and wind less efficient?

    Homes that produce their own power using RES can typically sell their excess power back to their local utility company.

    Oh, now I see. It’s inefficient because it’s diverting money from the corporation and into the consumer’s pocket.

    We can’t have that.

  2. Comment by mike slater on September 4, 2012 12:51 pm

    Donna, does the name Solyndra and the over 500 million taxpayer dollars wasted ring a bell?

  3. Comment by Timmys Cat on September 4, 2012 12:57 pm

    Robert (policy wank) Bobrobrobbybob can’t be wrong. He’s a Republicant. You are misinformed. (plus yore not funny neither, liberal. nyah)

    He’s got the cred to reach across both sides of the aisle to the right.
    Before becoming a journalist, Robb served on the executive committees and boards of directors for the Phoenix Zoo, the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, and the Goldwater Institute for Public Policy Research.

    Robbaround has already got the answer (progressive bad, conservative good) before he starts filling in the template with wurds and stuff. Sometimes he’ll criticize a more off the reservation Gooper to give himself a bit of a rakish personae at the GOP cocktail party fundraisers.


  4. Comment by Alan Scott on September 5, 2012 10:30 am

    AZ Voter ,

    Why don’t you research the technical problems of an electrical grid ? The Utility Corporation running it has to balance it’s generation capacity with the changing demands of it’s customers .

    When you add solar and wind generation that go on and off line with no correlation to the changing load of the grid you cause problems and raise costs.

    You definitely can do it, but do not think you are saving the planet or that you are helping your fellow electricity users . In Germany everyone pays a 15 % renewable energy surcharge . How can that be, since the wind and the sun are free ?

  5. Comment by AZVoter on September 5, 2012 10:33 am

    Mike, the Solyndra loan guarantee was originated under the Bush administration.

    The Solyndra “scandal” was a manufactured by the Right (mostly Fox News).

  6. Comment by Timmys Cat on September 5, 2012 1:38 pm

    Check this out.

    The AZ Corp. Com may not be able to do anything about Obamas energy policy but Jeffy Flake sure wants to if he gets to be Sen.

    Look at the jump from 111th to 112th Cong. Hit votes tab too. 96% with.

    See! Tax subsidies for traditional energy do pay off!

  7. Comment by mike slater on September 5, 2012 4:18 pm

    Az Voter, you’re right the Solyndra loan guarantee was originated under the Bush administration. The Bush administration decided not to fund it. It was the Obama administration that funded it and wasted over 500 million taxpayer dollars

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