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How Renewable Portfolio Standards Can Subvert Your Economy

Sally Kaye — Huffington Post — September 10, 2013

A strange thing happened on our way to a “clean energy” future in the U.S.: we’ve been hijacked by private developers whose primary interest is cashing in on state and federal subsidies and the guaranteed payback of a hefty return on investment, spawned by each state’s need to meet self-imposed renewable portfolio standards (RPS).

Sales propaganda aside, many of these developers could care less if their pet projects lower greenhouse gases or otherwise help the planet; they are simply capitalizing on the potential riches guaranteed by us, the rate and taxpayers.

Hawaii is the poster child for how a stiff RPS can spawn a developer frenzy, especially in the absence of a coherent, community-based energy policy.

Hawaii’s Legislature first established a renewable portfolio “goal” in 2001. In 2004 it acted to mandate 20 percent renewable generation by 2020, and amendments adopted in 2006 allowed solar hot water and seawater air conditioning savings to count toward the RPS. Good moves, we all agreed we needed to reduce our dependence on imported oil.

Then, on June 6, 2007, LA billionaire and real estate developer David Murdock, through his privately owned Castle & Cooke Resorts (C&C), announced plans to develop a $750 million industrial wind power plant on the island of Lana`i (98% of which he owned at the time), capable of producing 300-400 MW. This intermittent wind power would be shipped one-way to O`ahu, Hawaii’s energy-hungry (and some say energy-wasteful) population center through an undersea cable that he would also build. Despite knowing precisely where the development would be, no environmental studies were done.

Shortly thereafter, Boston-based First Wind got into the mix by announcing it would develop a similarly sized wind power plant on the island of Molokai, relying on a large Singapore-based land owner to eventually provide the needed space.  Read full article, here…..


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