Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin signed a bill last week that will eliminate a state-wide property tax exemption for wind power developers beginning in 2017. The move, which comes at a time when Oklahoma is struggling to close a yawning budget gap, will save the state on the order of $30 million annually in payments it previously made to counties to cover foregone tax revenue.
In remarks delivered while signing the legislation, Fallin, a Republican, also noted that the aims of the exemption—to help the industry get on its feet—had been accomplished:
“When these tax credits were originally conceived, they were meant to support a new and groundbreaking form of alternative energy,” Fallin said. “Today, Oklahoma’s wind industry is among the strongest in the nation and is an integral part of our power grid and our economy. Wind energy is here to stay. It no longer needs the same level of support and encouragement from the state.”
Continue reading Faulty Logic Drives
On Wind Incentives
So you’re a thoughtful energy consumer—you turn the lights off when you leave a room, you turn your thermostat down so it doesn’t run when you’re not home and you have even purchased a few light emitting diodes (LEDs) to replace your ancient incandescent bulbs. Feeling pretty good about yourself? Well think again.
A shocking study released last week by the Natural Resources Defense Council shows that on average we may be wasting as much as 23 percent of the electricity we buy every year. The waste, NRDC said, can be traced to the ubiquitous electronic devices that dot every room in every house/apartment in the United States. These devices—an average house has 65 of them NRDC said—consume electricity around the clock—even if they are actually only being used for an hour or two a day.
Adding it all up, NRDC said, these inactive devices waste about 1,300 kilowatt-hours of electricity per house per year—about the output of 50 500 megawatt power plants nationwide. While wasted, the electricity still has to be paid for—and this costs consumers roughly $19 billion annually, or $165 per household. That’s a lot for nothing.
Continue reading Incredible 23 Percent
Of Home Electric Use
Could Be Wasted
The utility industry has been waging a spirited campaign against state net metering policies for months (see my earlier post here), arguing that these programs unfairly benefit residential solar users and force new costs onto both non-solar customers and the companies themselves. However, judging by a recent report from the Rocky Mountain Institute, those arguments are largely moot—solar is going to win regardless. The real question, RMI said, is whether the industry is going to continue fighting the last war—or start figuring out how to profit from this new reality.
The RMI report, The Economics of Load Defection (which can be downloaded here), modeled the costs of solar and solar plus batteries and compared them with today’s utility costs and expected cost increases going forward. What they found was eye-opening:
“Smaller solar-only systems are economic today in three of our five geographies, and will be so for all geographies within a decade.”
The five areas studied by RMI were Westchester, NY, Louisville, KY, San Antonio, TX, Los Angeles, CA and Honolulu, HI. The residential results from the study are shown in the chart below.
Continue reading The Solar Scenario:
Utilities Can Profit
By Embracing The Future