Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Time Has Come For All Renewables To Stand Up And Unite!

By: Eugene Wilkie

If you own or run a renewable energy business you need to read this article. Recently I wrote an article "A Energy War Has Erupted! Over 60 Groups Want and Have Formally Asked Republican Leaders To Block Wind PTC Extension" about how immediately after Republicans made their sweeping win in the elections 60 groups including the Koch brothers sent a formal request asking for the end of the wind PTC tax incentive. Their premise being and I quote "Rejecting efforts to extend the PTC is a meaningful way for this Congress to oppose the President’s climate plan. A vote for extending the PTC is a vote for the President and the Majority Leader’s agenda". 

Folks a  bill just passed through the US House of Representatives that is designed to prevent qualified, independent scientists from advising the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This is directly influenced by the fossil fuel industry seeking to end this assault on their livelihood. I want it understood that I am not anti - fossil fuel.I completely understand and believe they are essential and have financially contributed in astronomical ways to the U.S. economy and our leading position in the world. I have had the good fortune to be involved in most sectors of renewable energy and view it from a more holistic point of view. I have installed and developed projects that required fossil fuel energy generation as the renewable energy sector was not mature enough to address the energy requirements I needed to meet at the time. What I don't get is this aggressive stance some in the fossil fuel industry in the U.S. have taken with renewables. ENERGY is ENERGY and the returns can be had by all. I consulted for some fossil fuel companies out of the Middle East who were getting into renewables and was pleasantly surprised. They looked at the industry as another form of energy that they could capitalize on and as they had a deep understanding of the energy sector they quickly understood the economic viability of renewables. Their view was refreshing in that they understood it did not make sense to burn their own asset for self use but instead to utilize renewables for their own off take. They then had more fossil fuel to sell in the market as they are very aware that there is only so much of it left to be pumped and what is there is getting more expensive to pump out of the ground. 

Renewables have been a diverse bunch all vying to position themselves in the new emerging economy. We have made great strides but the industry as a whole is under serious attack and often times different technologies view each other as competition so do not communicate. This is not a Republican versus Democrat issue. This is a industry (fossil fuel) that is feeling very threatened and as a mature industry know how to play the political machine like a well tuned piano. They have had years to learn and perfect their business model. Renewables has been an itch that seemed to them could be flicked away if it became too persistent. They were way off and they have begun to clearly see this as they watched the coal industry start dropping by the wayside and some of the biggest private non fossil fuels investors jump up with large portfolio investments. On top of that some of the large utility players began to really understand the economics that renewables offered and invested heavily. Some of these fossil fuel companies that are so aggressively gunning for renewables should look closely at these utilities business models and understand there is a large amount of money on the table and they are free to jump in at any time. They already have the deep understanding of the energy sector and the resources to capitalize on it to see great returns. I would be more than willing to show them how (as a payed consultant LOL) to tweak their business model and actually be more profitable by having a enhanced portfolio.

If you do not think solar is next you're wrong. They are attacking all fronts and spending large to do it. What has intrigued me about this is the fact I have heard very little from top executives in the renewable industry defending or rebutting these attacks. There seems to be such a (don't rock the boat mentality and head in the sand it will all work out) that I am a bit perplexed.

I do think that renewables has a few things going for it that should cause any politician to consider twice before being caught in the cross hairs of this issue. One is the majority of the public are proponents of clean energy. Second is that amount of jobs that this industry, renewables has created. Having said that like I mentioned in the beginning of this article 
they have voted on ending science in the EPA and there are some serious groups (I will list them at the end of this article) who have requested the PTC to not be renewed. If you look at this letter they could easily make the same case.

I am challenging all leaders in the renewable industry to stand up with one voice and make the case to the American people why renewables is good for the economy and good for the well being of our beautiful nation. We are the UNITED States of America and we need to all stand up united and get the support of the American people to challenge this assault on the industry. I for one am doing my part to raise my voice. There is actually a dot org that has formed to give us that one voice and I would encourage you to join and support. It is ACORE Leaders need to stand up under one voice and this is a great vehicle to do this with.

We have made amazing strides forward in renewables as a whole and it would be a shame to lose this momentum due to politics. I am posting the letter that was sent requesting the end of the PTC and I want you to replace the word wind with whatever industry of renewables you are in.

AEA American Energy Alliance

The Honorable John Boehner

Speaker of the House

U.S. House of Representatives

The Honorable Mitch McConnell

Minority Leader

U.S. Senate

November 6, 2014

Dear Speaker Boehner and Minority Leader McConnell:

During the lame duck session, one of the top priorities for President Obama and Majority

Leader Reid is the passage of a tax extenders package that includes a retroactive 

extension of the decades old wind production tax credit (PTC). The PTC is a key part of 

President Obama and Majority Leader Reid’s attack on affordable energy from natural gas, 

coal, and nuclear. We urge you to reject any attempt to revive the PTC.

First, it makes no sense for the Republicans to give away any leverage they may have with

respect to tax reform in the 114th Congress. Calls to “clear the decks” for the new Congress

are nonsensical; why would the newly elected Senate and House members (from either 

party) want to reward Senator Harry Reid for his legacy of dysfunction by allowing him the

opportunity to advance his pet priority—the wind PTC—during a lame duck session?

Second, extending the PTC restricts Americans' access to affordable and reliable energy. 

The PTC harms Americans in two important ways: it hides the true cost of wind power and

encourages states to keep expensive wind power mandates. This makes it easier for the

President to promote his restrictions on carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants

because the PTC hides the true costs from ratepayers.

Third, the PTC enables wind operators to use the tax code to engage in predatory pricing

against reliable and affordable nuclear, coal, and natural gas power plants. The PTC is such

a large subsidy that industrial wind facilities can actually pay the electrical grid to take their

electricity and still make money. This predatory pricing is designed to drive nuclear, coal, 

and natural gas generators out of business and it is only profitable because of the PTC.

If you favor substantive, meaningful tax reform, you should oppose the inclusion of the wind

PTC in any lame duck tax extenders package. Rejecting efforts to extend the PTC is a

meaningful way for this Congress to oppose the President’s climate plan. A vote

for extending the PTC is a vote for the President and the Majority Leader’s agenda.

American Energy Alliance
American Commitment
Heritage Action For America
Americans for Tax Reform
Competitive Enterprise Institute
Americans for Competitive
Americans for Prosperity
National Center for Public Policy
Taxpayers Protection Alliance
Frontiers of Freedom
National Black Chamber of
Energy and Environment Legal
Independent Women's Voice
The Committee For A Constructive
Tomorrow (CFACT)
Less Government
Club for Growth
Tea Party Nation
60 Plus Association
Independence Institute
Coalition Opposed to Additional
Spending and Taxes (COAST)
Campaign to Free America
Caesar Rodney Institute
National Tax Limitation Committee
Mansfield Tea Party
United for Missouri
Whitley County Concerned Citizens
The Cornwall Alliance for the
Stewardship of Creation
Secure America's Future Economy
North American Platform Against
Wind Power
Great Lakes Wind Truth, US and
Toronto Wind Action
Ontario Wind Action
Greencastle Defenders of Liberty
The Brighton Ridge Protectors
Save Our Senecas
The Coalition for the Preservation
of the Golden Crescent and 1000
Islands Region
Wells County Concerned Citizens
Concerned Taxpayers of Wells
Rio Grande Foundation
Concerned Citizens of Dekalb
County (IN)
Coalition for Sensible Siting,
Goodhue MN
Goodhue Wind Truth, Goodhue, MN
Coalition for Sensible Siting, Sibley,
Energy Makes America Great, Inc.
WNY Environmental Federation
The Great Lakes Beach Sweep
Cohocton Wind Watch
Interstate Informed Citizens
Stop Hallam Wind
Tom Stacy, Ohioan for Affordable
Let Freedom Ring
Concerned Citizens of Cattaraugus
Brown County Citizens for
Responsible Wind Energy
Save Our Skyline Ohio
Northern Indiana Citizens Coalition
Greenwhich Neighbors United
The Wells County Constitutional
Grant County Concerned Citizens
Whitley County Patriots
Northwestern PA Eagle
Conservation Association
Save Lake Ontario's Skylines
Clear Skies Over Orangeville
Sibley County Concerned Citizens
Citizen Power Alliance
Save Our Skyline VWC
United Ci

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