by Rob Roper
The Senate Natural Resources & Energy Committee held a joint meeting with the Economic Development committee to hear testimony on S.51, which would codify into law the State’s goal of getting 90% of our energy from renewable energy from renewable sources by 2050. (The “Let’s Destroy the Economy Bill.”) Those testifying appeared to have been selected to bolster the claim that renewable energy is a real economic driver in Vermont. For those paying attention, it is pretty clear the opposite is true – it’s an unsustainable drain on state resources.
The story of 23 year old All Earth Renewables employee, Payne Morgan, told of the great opportunities he has to work, pay off his student loans, pursue a masters degree he enjoys as a result of Vermont’s commitment to renewable energy. However, he warns, that the uncertainty surrounding government mandates and subsides is a real threat to AER’s future in Vermont as well as his own.
His testimony confirms (perhaps without his realizing it) that the viability of All Earth Renewables is entirely dependent upon government support, both in terms of regulation, government mandates, and subsidization. He described the sad time when a net-metering subsidy went away he had to watch friends get laid off, and worries that further such actions will lead to his demise as well.
This is not a healthy economic situation. Successful businesses pay money into the system via taxes that are used to support necessary government services. Organizations that require government money and action on their behalf in order to survive – because in a free market nobody is interested in voluntarily paying for what they are peddling — are a drag on the economy, and an inefficient use of scarce resources.
Other business owners (Weatherization, solar installation, etc.) testified similarly. Business is good! We’re hiring new people! But if you cut off the money spigot and stop mandating that people buy our products, we’re screwed. And, that’s why they were there in support of S.51 – to make sure the spigot not only stays on, but is opened wider.
- Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute