By the Free Enterprise Club
It turns out that upending Utility energy production and mandating “clean” energy by an arbitrary date costs money. A lot of money actually—to the tune of over $6 billion according to a new study commissioned by the Corporation Commission.
This study comes over a year after the Commission first announced its Green New Deal Energy Rules. Many votes have taken place since then, votes that would impact ratepayers, yet no independent cost analysis had been done until now.
The green energy lobby repeatedly told the Commission that the mandates (which were rejected by a margin of two to one on the ballot in 2018), would actually save ratepayers money and have an economic benefit of $2 billion. Seemingly everyone in the Corp Comm echo chamber and the media actually believed these suspicious figures. Everyone except Commissioner Justin Olson. He introduced an amendment last April to ensure that costs incurred by Utilities to comply with the mandates aren’t passed onto ratepayers. The amendment failed. It turned out that the same people claiming that energy mandates save people money didn’t believe their own hype and fought to kill this ratepayer protection.
We already know that previous mandates have led to higher utility bills and boondoggle projects. The Renewable Energy Standard and Tariff adopted by the Commission in 2006 (requiring 15% renewable energy by 2025) resulted in APS signing a 30-year contract for solar energy costing 400% above market rates. All passed onto the ratepayer.
Thankfully prior to leaping before they looked, the Commission agreed to conduct a study with an independent firm to identify the potential cost of additional mandates. The firm they hired—Ascend—compares 3 different portfolios of energy production: “Least Cost” which relies on utilities pursuing the lowest cost option for consumers, an 80% clean energy mandate by 2050, and a 100% clean energy mandate by 2050. In order to hit the 80% or 100% mandate requirements, utilities would need to phase out all fossil fuels, purchase more solar and wind generation, expand lithium-ion battery storage and convert natural gas generation to green hydrogen…