March 6, 2020
North Carolina, Opinions

Renewable energy projects cause rate increases

By Patrick Flynn | Chowan Herald | Mar 4, 2020 |

I submitted online testimony regarding the 2019 IRP Update Reports and Related 2019 REPS Compliance Plans, Docket E-100 Sub 157, a NC Utility Commission hearing that evaluates power generation estimates by several NC Utility Providers, including energy provided from solar and wind power producers.

Public testimony will be heard March 9 in Raleigh.

Utility Providers’ profit comes from a percentage of the income from energy sold. The cost of creating electricity from these sources is borne by their customers. Unfortunately, reliance on solar or wind providers dramatically increases the future cost their customers will bear.

It’s likely energy projection costs don’t reflect the state and federal tax credits wind and solar energy providers receive constructing their facilities.

Additionally, a recent Avoided Rate increase of $30 million was approved by the NC Utility Commission to offset new transmission infrastructure and new power plant construction costs estimated to be $1.84 billion, an example of Dominion Energy’s near term clean energy projects, one energy provider example; energy to be absorbed by its 220,000 NC customers.

These Utility Provider investment costs won’t be the responsibility of these corporate entities but, instead, will come from their customers.

The burden of investment to increase anticipated power demands should not come at the expense of any utility customer. Planned energy should be considered a normal cost of doing business and taken from Utility Provider profits. Future green energy costs should be a bottom line expenses for several reasons.

New wind and solar project energy development will cause NC utility rates to rise to the tune of $1.84 billion for one Utility Provider. Dramatic increases are clear from existing turbine projects across the country.

Two hundred and twenty-two thousand (220,000) NC citizens will bear project costs via future utility bill increases, even though there was no approval process protecting their due process.

Formal approval authority for new wind and solar projects is limited to the county or town where it resides. The burden of future electric supply development, construction, operational costing and decommissioning costs is not shared fairly, with the example of Dominion Energy.

Unfortunately, those costs will be passed on to all utility customers in every county that Dominion Energy serves.

Utility Provider wind and solar projects are commercial ventures. Any costs associated with the development, construction and operations of the wind and solar energy project they service should be carried by the developer/owner for the entire life of the project, including decommissioning.

This is money Dominion corporate, wind developers and solar developers won’t have to spend to make energy projects a reality.

The due process financial rights of many NC utility citizens will be violated with increased wind and solar rates to the tune of the first $30 million increase for Dominion Energy’s current investments.

The NC Utility Commission should not allow wind or solar energy rate increases not be applied to any future consumer bill because of Utility Providers until Utility Providers bear initial development and construction costs.

Patrick Flynn is a business owner who lives on Paradise Road.

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