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Renewable Portfolio Standards undermine energy efficiency (the “first fuel”)

May 9, 2012

Vermont just threw out their RPS in the energy bill passed on May 4, 2012. Final energy bill passes, minus renewable portfolio standard reports Alan Panebaker, writing in  (“a statewide news website dedicated to coverage of Vermont politics, consumer affairs, business, and public policy”). He describes the way Vermont went about revising its approach to renewables.

Comments responding to the article show the way RPSs distort energy distribution, and Willem Post draws attention to the unglamorous but beneficial practice of energy efficiency (EE)–something not captured in a renewable portfolio standard.

It would be much wiser, and more economical, to shift subsidies away from expensive renewables, that produce just a little of expensive, variable, intermittent energy, towards increased EE. Those renewables would not be needed, if those funds were used for increased EE.

EE is the low-hanging fruit, has not scratched the surface, is by far the best approach, because it provides the quickest and biggest “bang for the buck”, AND it is invisible, AND it does not make noise, AND it does not destroy pristine ridge lines/upset mountain water runoffs, AND it would reduce CO2, NOx, SOx and particulates more effectively than renewables, AND it would not require any distribution network build-outs, AND it would slow electric rate increases, AND it would slow fuel cost increases, AND it would slow depletion of fuel resources, AND it would create 3 times the jobs and reduce 3-5 times the Btus and CO2 per invested dollar than renewables, AND all the technologies are fully developed, AND it would end the subsidizing of renewables tax-shelters at the expense of rate payers, AND it would be more democratic/equitable, AND it would do all this without public resistance and controversy.

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