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Posted on Jul 9 2017 in Outreach and Education Working Group

Excellent. Our Plan is Working…

Excellent. Our Plan is Working…

Bwah-ha-ha. This utility death spiral is exactly what’s supposed to happen:

“As more consumers switch to rooftop solar and buy less electricity from the grid…the costs of running conventional coal, oil, gas or nuclear power plants would be shared among an ever-smaller customer base. That could cause rates to spike, chasing even more customers away.

“The prospect of more customers “fully exiting from the grid,” the group said, “raises the potential for irreparable damages to revenues and growth.”

“Homeowners with solar panels “avoid paying for use of the grid, even though they use it almost constantly to buy or sell electricity,” read a talking point prepared by Indiana’s local investor-led utilities group, the Indiana Energy Association, and circulated among Republican state legislators.

“A school superintendent said that his underfunded district needed solar power to reduce energy costs. A local farmer pleaded that his pine tree nursery depended on power from his solar panels. A Baptist pastor said he saw drawing energy from the sun as an “expression of our love of God’s creation.”

“Driven by sharply falling costs, the United States last year added a record 15 gigawatts of solar capacity, enough to power around 2.8 million homes and more than any other source, including natural gas and coal. The bulk of that growth came from giant solar parks and other large projects run by solar producers and, in some cases, the utilities themselves. Large-scale wind projects have also grown rapidly, many in states carried by Donald J. Trump in the presidential election.”

But is it, really?

The fossil fuel industry refuses to die honorably, because every day it continues to miserably persist it sucks up more billions of dollars from us, as well as thousands of our lives. As As Jim Marston of the EDF said way back in 2014,

I can’t blame them. I’ve been fighting for what I believe in for decades, and I’ve had more defeats than wins. But I never gave up, and neither will the fossil fuel companies. What’s different now, however, is that the evidence against them is so convincing that voters, energy customers, and most everyone else recognize that opposition to renewable energy is based on lost corporate profits. Cries of “higher energy costs” and “lost jobs” are no longer credible arguments against the clean energy revolution. They may never know they’ve been conquered, but everyone else will.

Uncertainty over net metering in Indiana has slowed the market further. “It’s totally shut us down,” said Michael A. Mullett, a volunteer at Indiana’s Columbus Community Solar Initiative, who has helped two dozen households sign up for solar panels since 2014.

““There’s no doubt these utilities are out to kill rooftop solar, and they’re succeeding,” said David Pomerantz, executive director of the Energy and Policy Institute, a renewable energy advocacy group. “They’re now driving the agenda.”

The truth is still true, though

A study released this year by the federal Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, however, concluded that for the vast majority of states and utilities, the effects of rooftop solar credits on electricity rates for nonsolar customers would be negligible for the foreseeable future.

Is this the last-gasp drowning death throes of the fossil fuel industry? Will they take us under with them?

LAST GASP? Whose? Brian McCormack, a former top executive at the Edison Energy Institute, a prominent utility lobbying group, is now chief of staff for Energy Secretary Rick Perry. Credit Southern States Energy Board, via Flickr