July 28, 2008
Posted by Daren Bakst at 6:54 PM
Most of these groups opposing Save-A-Watt (including the Public
Staff) were nowhere to be found when it came to opposing the energy
efficiency measures in Senate Bill 3. Generally, they strongly
supported the provisions.
The only reason why Save-A-Watt is even a possibility is because SB 3
provided the statutory authorization for such a program.
These groups only have themselves to thank for Save-A-Watt. Good job!
Because of their efforts and regardless of whether Save-A-Watt gets approved:
- The public will pay more for electricity.
- The poor will have to pay more so that people that can take advantage
of energy efficient incentives can do so--it is a wealth transfer from
the poor to the wealthy.
- Utilities will get paid not to produce electricity.
- Consumers will pay more for energy efficient goods and services
through utility-run programs than if the consumers bought the products
- Utilities will project future "demand" to determine whether programs have reduced demand--this is sure to be trustworthy!
- Attributing reduced demand due to energy efficiency programs as opposed to consumer actions is impossible.
From a 2007 Spotlight report
before passage of SB 3: "It is dubious to assume that a 5 percent
reduction in energy use would be a result of paying higher taxes for
incentive programs. In fact, La Capra [the Utility Commission's
consultant) recognizes that there is 'a problem in attributing the
correct amount of energy savings from EE [energy efficiency] measures
that are part of an RPS versus what would have otherwise resulted
without any incentives.'"
- The public has been led to believe that these programs, such as
energy efficiency incentives for consumers, are something new. NC
has had these demand-side management programs since the 1980's and they
have been a complete disaster.
- The environmental extremists didn't even care enough about consumers
to push for an independent third party administrator to run the energy
efficiency programs--something they have pushed in the past (let me
stress, an administrator is a bad option too, but it would be no worse
than utility-run programs and it would cost far less).
third party administrator only gets paid for the costs of the programs
and a reasonable bonus--nothing even remotely close to Save-A-Watt or
what likely will eventually be permitted by the Utilities Commission. Instead of just getting paid for program costs and a reasonable
bonus, Duke would get paid for lost demand (as projected by
Duke). Under Save-A-Watt, consumers would pay as much for the
luxury of not receiving electricity as they pay to receive electricity.
Excuse me for not thanking these groups for their efforts to stop Save-A-Watt.
Development CounselIers International ranks it's client 2nd
Posted by Becki Gray at 5:35 PM
In a Charlotte Business Journal report, North Carolina is ranked 2nd in a new business climate ranking. No doubt we'll be hearing from the corporate welfare big spenders soon about how well their giveaways are working. But is this another rigged ranking like the ones done by Site Selection Magazine (that really ranks which states give away the most taxpayers' money - and NC is always ranked really high)?
Through the NC Dept of Commerce, the NC Economic Development Board has developed seven economic development strategic plan goals for the state’s business climate.
One of the stated goals is “to ensure a competitive environment for the recruitment and retention of business, capital investment and jobs creation” In other words, boost North Carolina’s business climate.
In order to sell North Carolina as having an attractive business climate, the board is to “develop an effective, coordinated statewide marketing/branding program” and “orchestrate a limited, low-cost outreach campaign to advertise North Carolina’s recent efforts in economic development”.
So guess who’s been hired by the Department of Commerce to market North Carolina as a business destination and ensure that those claims appear in national and international media?
That’s right – Development Counsellers International (DCI)
Hired by North Carolina to ensure it ranks high as a business destination so the Department of Commerce can recruit more companies to take more tax money to come here. Wonder how this ranks with North Carolina taxpayers?
Wondering whether Save-A-Watt is a good idea?
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 3:24 PM
If today's public protests have you questioning the value of Duke Energy's proposed Save-A-Watt program, Daren Bakst's recent column on the topic will likely add to your concerns.
Parton's lawyers want suit tried in business court
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 3:18 PM
Attorneys for country singer Randy Parton want a lawsuit against him tried in N.C. business court. You can catch up on the background of the case here and follow legal developments at the newly revived Web site of the N.C. Institute for Constitutional Law.
Learn and Earn Online
Posted by Dr. Terry Stoops at 2:04 PM
The N&O reports that enrollment in online college courses for high school students, called Learn and Earn Online, is much lower than expected.
Governor Easley and other advocates of the program claim that the program will lower the dropout rate and raise the college-going rate, but I doubt that. Students who are considering dropping out of school or do not have the desire or ability to venture into postsecondary schooling typically do not want to enroll in online college courses in high school. Instead, college-bound high schoolers will use Learn and Earn Online to earn free college credit, regardless of their ability to pay for college.
On the bright side, Learn and Earn Online is a form of school choice. And if enrollment in Learn and Earn Online "takes off" next year (as Dan Gerlach claims it will), then it just confirms that parents and children are hungry for educational choice.
More drilling now
Posted by George Leef at 11:35 AM
The opponents of allowing more exploration for and production of oil keep saying that it wouldn't have any effect for ten years. Not only is that argument extremely myopic (hardly any investment has an immediate payoff), but it's wrong, as Robert Murphy explains here.
Research versus teaching
Posted by George Leef at 11:14 AM
The Pope Center has just published a discussion featuring four economists on the question "does the obligation to produce research get in the way of good teaching?" You can read it here.
My view is that in a sensible world, professors would be paid mainly to teach and research would be funded by parties who felt that the prof's work would be sufficiently valuable to be worth supporting. Mandatory research usually leads to blathery articles that do nothing to advance knowledge, but merely fill up space.
Levin's take on Limbaugh
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 10:33 AM
As the 20th anniversary of Rush Limbaugh's national radio program approaches, fellow talk-show host Mark Levin praises Limbaugh today in Human Events.
Speaking of Rush, remember that his "official climatologist" will speak to a John Locke Foundation Headliner luncheon Sept. 16 in Raleigh.
Constitutional law group's Web site now active
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 09:11 AM
If you're interested in following the work of the N.C. Institute for Constitutional Law, check out the group's Web site at www.ncicl.org.
You'll find information about the group's work on cases such as the Randy Parton Theatre lawsuit.
Latest dispatches from the political trail
Posted by John Hood at 07:38 AM
• Beverly Perdue, Pat McCrory, Elizabeth Dole, Kay Hagan, and other statewide candidates will speak this week to a sheriffs' convention in New Bern.
• The North Carolina public schools go tobacco-free, and Perdue, who chairs the Health and Wellness Trust Fund, says that more smoking regulations could be on the way. A proposed Charlotte annexation of a sliver of Cabarrus County puts McCrory on the spot. Campaigning in Sampson County, he offers comments on energy prices, conservation, ethanol subsidies, and public safety.
• Dole is on hand Saturday to help celebrate Brevard's 140th birthday and will appear Monday with First Lady Laura Bush at the Carl Sandburg home. During campaign stops in the Sandhills, Hagan continues her attacks on Dole's support for free-trade agreements.
• Southern Political Report summarizes the finances of Senate candidates, including Dole and Hagan.
Left-leaning Hollywood types
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:28 AMIf you’ve enjoyed his spin on “locavores,” environmental activists, and lobbyists, you’re likely to enjoy Joel Stein’s description in the latest TIME of Hollywood-based Democratic political activists:
Once we sat down, I realized I had no idea who these people were. Luckily, like every liberal event I've ever been to, the breakfast began by having us go around the room and talk about ourselves. I used the time to play L.A. bingo, which I won when every single person used at least one of the following words: activist, conserve, screenwriter, progress, environment, producer or filmmaker.
Then I figured we'd be asked to give money for something or hold hands across America, but instead it turned into a weird kind of show-and-tell. A few people gave long presentations, but everyone was given one-minute slots to talk about projects they're working on. Watching liberals try to explain something in one minute might be the best game show I've ever seen.
Downplaying the merits of the division of labor
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:25 AMIn plugging the benefits of “inner-city” farms this week, TIME’s Lisa McLaughlin notes:
There was a time when city dwellers could more or less provide for their own food needs, but since the Industrial Revolution, the distance from field to fork has greatly increased — the average meal now travels 1,500 miles (2,400 km) to reach your plate. And, notes [landscape architect John] Bela, "the hidden cost of the food chain is the transport." Thus urban agriculture aims to help people save money as well as the environment.
What Ms. McLaughlin describes as a problem is actually one of the major achievements of civilization: the increased agricultural productivity and improved transportation that have freed more and more people from being forced to grow their own food. That freedom leads to more wealth.
Perhaps a little reading about the “division of labor” might give Ms. McLaughlin a better perspective on this issue. She could even have fun with the topic, delving into the writing of P.J. O’Rourke.
The benefits of Western civilization
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:23 AMIf you don’t like to read about “dead white males,” you’ll want to skip Anthony Esolen’s new volume in Regnery’s PIG series: The Politically Incorrect Guide to Western Civilization.
Esolen takes aim squarely at secular collectivists, as in this passage discussing the century of world wars and communist slaughters:
[H]ere is the most politically incorrect thing I can say about the twentieth century: The history of the last 100 to 150 years is the sorry tale of the growth of the State, and of the State’s toadies in education, mass media, and mass entertainment, encouraging the community-dissolving individualism of desire (in the West; in the East people did not even get that), at the expense of the individualism of competence. It is a war of the individual now seen as a random atom of sovereign choice, united with the almighty State, against their common enemies in the middle: the family, the community, national heritage, and the liberty they depended upon and fostered.
Other PIG volumes that have offered valuable information include those targeting capitalism, the Constitution, and English and American literature.
Today's Carolina Journal Online features
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:18 AM
The week's first Carolina Journal Online exclusive features new poll results that show most North Carolinians are unwilling to support global warming policies that lead to higher gasoline and electricity prices.
John Hood's Daily Journal focuses of new research that shows a strong link between freedom and happiness.
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