Government mandate is unnecessary
Initiative 937 on the Nov. 7 ballot makes the mistake of trying to mandate something that’s already happening. In Clark County, that “something” is manifested in those hundreds of huge, sophisticated windmill components that are slowly trucked from the Port of Vancouver to modern wind-energy farms to the east.
Everyone, especially every energy company, loves renewable energy, but the conversion should occur as market conditions dictate, not forced by government in ways that lead to higher energy prices. That’s one of many reasons The Columbian recommends a “No” vote on Initiative 937, which would require certain electric utilities with 25,000 or more customers to have 15 percent of their power supply generated from renewable resources by 2020. If not, the companies would be fined, and guess who will absorb that cost (consumers).
Another reason to reject I-937 is this glaring flaw: It does not include hydropower with wind and solar as a “renewable source.” It’s impossible to envision the inexorable flow of water through turbines at our state’s dams as anything but renewable. California correctly recognizes hydropower as renewable, and if I-937 passes, there’s ample reason to believe large amounts of low-cost hydropower will be exported south as our state struggles to meet an unnecessary government mandate.
The nonpartisan Washington Research Council has estimated that I-937 will cost ratepayers from $185 million to $370 million per year. And, despite I-937 proponents’ claims that it’s an engine for creating jobs, the council projects that between 3,600 and 7,100 workers, mostly in manufacturing, will lose their jobs.
Conversion to renewable energy sources is occurring at an encouraging and increasing pace. Initiative 937 would hamper, not hasten, that progress.
By Columbian editorial writers
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