Saturday, April 19, 2014

Conservatives: We Love Free Markets Except When We Don't

If we add enough solar panels to the mix, we might solve
energy shortages and global warming. Better not do that!

Oklahoma has been making its mark in hypocrisy lately. Maybe Sooners were jealous of Rand Paul getting all the attention. They've certainly switched eyeballs to their state.

I just reported Thursday that Gov. Mary Fallin had signed a bill banning wage and benefit improvements in her state. The bill only prevents lower-level entities like counties and municipalities from raising the minimum wage and benefits, but since the state is entirely unlikely to make any moves, it effectively bans any improvement for labor.

It's startling that this represents conservatives blocking free markets from setting minimum wages and benefits. If you love free markets for capital but not for labor, then you're not being honest, or you're really choosing sides.

Next, Oklahoma doubles down in the hypocrisy department with a bill advancing to the governor's desk that adds fees payable to utility companies when individuals install their own solar panels. If you're going to distribute power back to the grid, there's a price you'll pay, but only for this new class: private individuals. Everyone else is grandfathered in to the fee-free era. The fee makes no sense, especially because utilities gain when private operators send electricity to the grid in peak usage hours:
But distributed energy sources also provide a clear value to utility companies. Solar generates during peak hours, when a utility has to provide electricity to more people than at other times during the day and energy costs are at their highest. Solar panels actually feed excess energy back to the grid, helping to alleviate the pressure during peak demand. In addition, because less electricity is being transmitted to customers through transmission lines, it saves utilities on the wear and tear to the lines and cost of replacing them with new ones.
With solar power coming down in price to levels that make it truly practical for individuals to lower their costs and their demand, it makes no sense to tax individuals for helping to put a real dent in greenhouse gases. Again, Oklahoma loves free markets, except the one where the utility companies want to get their slice. Oklahoma hates taxes except when it doesn't.

In contrast, California has reversed itself and is cancelling a payoff to the utility companies. Costs for installing new systems, including connect fees to the utilities, were as high as $3700, putting a real crimp in new system installations. Solar City, the state's largest installer, had all but stopped new applications. Not good, and not called for:
Grid operators and utilities worry that the rise of battery storage and distributed generation like solar will cause more and more customers to simply defect from the grid entirely. In a blog post on SolarCity’s website, Rive attempted to allay those fears, pointing out that the spread of batteries at the residential, commercial, and utility level could work to grid operators’ advantage if properly harnessed.
“In this scenario, grid operators are suddenly empowered to store and discharge solar energy where and when it’s needed most, smoothing out peaks and ramps, while powering more of the total grid consumption with clean and renewable sources,” Rive wrote. “Additionally, utilizing storage to unlock massive benefits in the areas of frequency and voltage support can further lower grid costs. Many of these capabilities are available now through distributed resources, even without storage, and we should work together to put them into the hands of utilities for the benefit of the ratepayers.”
The way is cleared for new projects to proceed. BTW, The Week has a new article decrying Oklahoma's move. It's aptly titled, The world's dumbest idea: Taxing solar energy.

"There's a bright golden haze on the meadow."
 Don't trap any of it with solar panels!

1 comment:

  1. Excellent project! I wish to your better solar services that's keep our environment safe. national minimum wage is indicate the rights of workers and reporting of the particular labor law to protect the rules of employers and employees, according to the federal and local law. We are update latest version of the law labor act that declared by the state.