Clean Energy Without Subsidies? It’s Possible

We’ve talked extensively about “clean energy” and Democratic attempts to turn environmental stewardship into a get rich quick scheme for donors through the renewable portfolio standards.

But there’s a way to move toward more clean energy without having to resort to taxpayer handouts.

Delegate Mark Fisher has a bill that has passed the House and is in the Senate to study future uses of nuclear energy in our state. As Josh Kurtz writes for Maryland Matters, this bill was created from the ashes of Fisher’s original bill that was likely not going to get passed out of committee.

It’s the original bill that I want to focus on because of its innovative nature.

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The intent of the original bill, before it was amended, was to include nuclear energy in the energy sources that may be used to satisfy the renewable energy portfolio standard.

The genius of the bill is in its simplicity. All the bill’s intent was to add nuclear energy to the menu of options to the renewable standard. If nuclear were included in this calculation, we would hit our current renewable portfolio standard and then some.

What would that look like? This:

You can read the entire story about nuclear and other potential clean energy sources here.

The existing sources to meet the standard include all sorts of energy sources that are not economically viable, including solar, wind, biomass, methane, geothermal, fuel cells, and more. All of these sources are in line to receive generous subsidies for their creation. One of the reasons so many environmental groups opposed Fisher’s bill was because of the handouts, as Kurtz wrote:

When Fisher’s bill was in its original posture – to use nuclear power as part of the calculation in the renewable portfolio standard (RPS) – the Utility Scale Solar Energy Coalition of Maryland; the PJM Power Providers Group, a nonprofit consortium of power providers; and the Sierra Club testified against it. Part of their argument was that using nuclear power as part of the RPS would hamper the development of other renewable fuels, like solar and wind energy.

“Our RPS should be firmly focused on promoting and incentivizing new, clean electrons on the grid like wind and solar, not providing hand-outs to large nuclear power plants,” the Sierra Club said in written testimony.

That goes to show the hypocrisy of some of these environmental organizations, who eschew clean nuclear power while seeking state taxpayer dollars to build up their renewable method of choice. Including nuclear doesn’t feather the nest of the solar and wind barons. Other environmental organizations rightly note that “Maryland’s RPS does little to incentivize new clean, renewable energy production or provide economic benefits to Maryland.”

Of course, hypocrisy is no stranger to the “clean power” lobby, but we have long documented the climate of intellectual dishonest around green energy.

The fact is that we already have a nuclear power plant, Calvert Cliffs, generating clean power for Maryland. It’s there, it’s built, and it’s producing energy without the use of fossil fuels or their side effects.

None of us are so naive to think that there aren’t risks with nuclear power, especially in light of tomorrow being the 40th Aniversary of Three Mile Island. But Fisher’s legislation is both environmentally friendly and taxpayer friendly. Let’s hope that Fisher continues to introduce the bill in its original format in future years.

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