June 13, 2016
RI Families Once Again Left Out of State Budget
RI Renewable Energy Mandates Create Poor Cost-Benefit Value. Families and businesses to lose again.
Local Wind Developer to Receive Unprecedented Crony Hand-out off Backs of Average Rhode Islander?
Providence, RI — Investing in state mandates for renewable energy, currently and potentially on the books in Rhode Island, will provide an extremely poor return for Ocean State taxpayers and ratepayers, and may only serve to perpetuate a culture of crony corporatism. This according to the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity, which today released a comprehensive report analyzing the cost-benefit of meeting such mandates in future years.
The report, Renewable Energy in Rhode Island, is based on detailed research by a national energy expert, Dr. Timothy J. Considine. Subtitled Big Cost, Little Difference, the report’s major findings, if Rhode Island were to ramp up its renewable energy production to meet existing mandates, include:
- Rhode Island has a relatively low carbon footprint, as 98% of its energy generation is based on natural gas production
- Major investment will be required to achieve a minor abatement in that carbon footprint, if the state is to meet its existing (and potentially increased) renewable energy mandates. This poor cost-benefit ratio is well below EPA recommended standards
- An artificial rise of 13-18% in electricity rates, leading six to eight hundred million dollars extracted from the private sector because of government mandated higher energy costs, are some the anticipated consequences of maintaining the state’s dubious energy policies
- Four to six thousand jobs could be lost overall as a result of these consequences, despite the few hundred ‘green’ jobs created, which will place further downward pressure on the state’s already dismal 48th ranking on the national Jobs and Opportunity Index
The report also details a number of bills, whose fate is yet to be decided in this legislative session, that would advance or extend renewable energy mandates, potentially exacerbating the negative economic impacts cited in the report.
Additionally, of relevant concern to the ongoing controversy of legislative grants and cronyism in the state, is an Article 18 provision in the proposed 2017 budget, that would give millions of dollars in subsidies to an insider wind energy developer who has made significant campaign donations to state political leaders. The Providence Journal today published an article on this potential ‘pay-to-play’ scandal, which National Grid claims would make Rhode Island the only state in the nation to hand-out subsidies of this nature
“Our state’s self-destructive energy policies represent an extraordinarily poor value for ratepayers, taxpayers and for our state’s economy,” commented Mike Stenhouse, CEO for the Center. “To make matters worse, like so many other big-government programs, insider developers are poised to profit off the backs of the average family and small business owner.”