Green power regulators trip over each other in Illinois

Thomas Lifson
When governments try to micromanage business via regulation, ineptness is to be expected as the norm. Why do liberals have to learn this simple lesson over and over again? It is the law of unintended consequences.

The latest example comes from Illinois, that fount of the Obama administration, where Steve Daniels of Chicago Business.com explains:

Chicago's recent move to join more than 100 suburbs in allowing residents to buy cheaper power than that offered by Commonwealth Edison Co. could kill the construction of any more wind farms or other large-scale renewable-energy facilities in Illinois, clean-energy companies say.

Two major state energy laws have combined in an unanticipated fashion to make new wind farms and large-scale solar facilities impossible to finance. One requires an increasing percentage of the power consumed here to come from clean sources. The other allows municipalities to buy cheap electricity in bulk on behalf of their constituents

The purported green electricity that the Illinois Power Agency has been buying on long term contracts is naturally really expensive. But the municipalities have been able to buy other electricity that qualifies as green:

the suppliers they chose [qualify] by purchasing certificates from existing renewable projects, often in far-away places like Texas.

This leaves the remaining utilities that buy from the Illinois Power Agency stuck with the entire bill for the uneconomical green power.  By far the most important of these is Exelon, parent of Commonwealth Edison, the Chicago utility long run by Bill Ayers' father, Tom Ayers. It was also one of the major clients of David Axelrod's public affairs consulting firm, which specialized in Astroturf demonstrations and advocacy groups.

Exelon is now caught the regulatory gymnastics over who gets stuck for the bill for "green power." The greenies want to change the way the extra costs are passed on to consumers, so everyone pays. Exelon, which has six nuclear power plants to keep busy in Illinois, is not in favor of adding more. Nobody is questioning the wisdom of paying extra for unrealizable power from sources that have their own downsides, like the horrible bird carnage associated with windmills.

Green power is a con. Thanks to fracking, we have abundant supplies of cheap natural gas ready as the clean source of power for our electricity grid. Gas fired plants are relatively cheap and quick to build, as well. The entire regulatory framework needs to be scrapped.

Hat tip: Peter von Buol

When governments try to micromanage business via regulation, ineptness is to be expected as the norm. Why do liberals have to learn this simple lesson over and over again? It is the law of unintended consequences.

The latest example comes from Illinois, that fount of the Obama administration, where Steve Daniels of Chicago Business.com explains:

Chicago's recent move to join more than 100 suburbs in allowing residents to buy cheaper power than that offered by Commonwealth Edison Co. could kill the construction of any more wind farms or other large-scale renewable-energy facilities in Illinois, clean-energy companies say.

Two major state energy laws have combined in an unanticipated fashion to make new wind farms and large-scale solar facilities impossible to finance. One requires an increasing percentage of the power consumed here to come from clean sources. The other allows municipalities to buy cheap electricity in bulk on behalf of their constituents

The purported green electricity that the Illinois Power Agency has been buying on long term contracts is naturally really expensive. But the municipalities have been able to buy other electricity that qualifies as green:

the suppliers they chose [qualify] by purchasing certificates from existing renewable projects, often in far-away places like Texas.

This leaves the remaining utilities that buy from the Illinois Power Agency stuck with the entire bill for the uneconomical green power.  By far the most important of these is Exelon, parent of Commonwealth Edison, the Chicago utility long run by Bill Ayers' father, Tom Ayers. It was also one of the major clients of David Axelrod's public affairs consulting firm, which specialized in Astroturf demonstrations and advocacy groups.

Exelon is now caught the regulatory gymnastics over who gets stuck for the bill for "green power." The greenies want to change the way the extra costs are passed on to consumers, so everyone pays. Exelon, which has six nuclear power plants to keep busy in Illinois, is not in favor of adding more. Nobody is questioning the wisdom of paying extra for unrealizable power from sources that have their own downsides, like the horrible bird carnage associated with windmills.

Green power is a con. Thanks to fracking, we have abundant supplies of cheap natural gas ready as the clean source of power for our electricity grid. Gas fired plants are relatively cheap and quick to build, as well. The entire regulatory framework needs to be scrapped.

Hat tip: Peter von Buol