Costly Energy Standards Are Really Just Crony-Capitalist Taxes

Editor’s Note: EarthTechling, always looking to forward the cleantech revolution discussion, is proud to bring you this column via a cross post from partner American Enterprise Institute. Author credit goes to Kenneth Green.

As I discussed back in August, Renewable Energy Standards (RES) are not what they’re cracked up to be. In fact, they’re little more than regressive taxes on electricity, mainly used to line the pockets of crony “clean” energy producers.

Rooftop Solar Array

image via Shutterstock

Over at Politico, Grover Norquist and Patrick Gleason point out just how large a tax that clean energy standards impose:

Renewable energy standards, by design, are intended to drive up energy costs—requiring utilities to use more expensive and often less reliable sources of energy. Not surprisingly, such laws have hit ratepayers hard. States that have a binding RES now have electricity costs that are 39 percent higher than states that don’t have a binding RES.

While Grover and the gang at Americans for Tax Reform do fall prey to a bit of fallacious thinking on energy (the dread “all of the above” thing), they’re not big on taxes, and are teaming up with state governments to try to remove renewable energy standards:

Legislators in states around the country are now working with Americans for Tax Reform to repeal renewable energy mandates in 2012. The iron is hottest to strike in states where Republicans recently took control of both the Legislature and the governorship—including Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Those Rust Belt states have high unemployment and need relief from heavy-handed laws that are driving up families’ utility bills and reducing employers’ job-creating capacity.

Given ATR’s tenacity, this can’t bode well for the wind and solar power sector, but it might help slow the growth of electricity prices that are going up with alarming speed.

1 Comment

  • Reply September 12, 2012


    And yet… and yet….
    They just can’t seem to find in in their hearts to dismantle the tax breaks given to the fossil fuel industry. So very sad.
    I’d be all for Romney’s ‘fair platform for energy’ – if it included dismantling the support structures so long in place for the oil & coal companies.

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