OP-ED: Duke's Energy's monopoly does nothing but hurt NC
Whether you're Democrat or Republican, the existing monopoly Duke Energy has created in NC should scare you. Monopolies do not allow for free-market competition, which helps to drive innovation while providing checks on prices. Duke has also taken steps to squash renewable energy projects in North Carolina, as they continue to pump out fossil fuels which in turn degrade our environment. It seems like a no-brainer for North Carolinians - let's get rid of the Duke Energy monopoly.
Duke Energy has asked the N.C. Utilities Commission to fine a small nonprofit group, NC WARN, $1,000 per day for selling solar energy to a church in Greensboro. The irony and hypocrisy here are thicker than the sludge in a Duke Energy coal ash pond.
It is hard to imagine something more directly opposed to conservative principles than a state-mandated monopoly on electricity. And it is equally hard to imagine any North Carolinian wanting to squash the renewable energy project of a church.
So here is a challenge to our governor and the North Carolina legislature: If you are principled people, then get rid of the laws that give Duke Energy a monopoly position over renewables and open up the state to competition.
It was only a few weeks ago that our governor, a former Duke Energy employee, signed the bill that will eliminate state subsidies for alternative energy. The rationale was that clean energy could compete in the marketplace on its own. That argument might have teeth if there were actually competition.
But, of course, there is no competition. North Carolina is one of only four states with a law prohibiting third parties from selling electricity. There are also other laws that support Duke Energy’s monopoly position.
Meanwhile, the last few months have seen a whirlwind of destructive environmental policy. We’ve seen little accountability for coal ash spills into waterways, loosening of anti-pollution laws, increased efforts to drill off the coastline, the announced merger of Duke Energy and Piedmont Natural Gas, plans for more fossil fuel power plants, talk of eliminating the state’s renewable energy standard, and on and on.
All that’s missing is a bill to promote the kicking of puppies.
Somehow we’ve been lured — and bullied — into a direction that is not in the best interests of North Carolinians. How could this happen in a state where the vast majority of people prefer renewable energy over fossil fuels?
There are three reasons. First, the fossil fuel economy is driving extreme wealth for a very few people, mostly outside our state. Second, those very few people are bankrolling a national effort to promote fossil fuel monopolies and squash renewables. Third, we’ve allowed the largest and most powerful energy utility in the country to spring up in our own backyard.
None of this helps North Carolina. We are not a fossil fuel producer like West Virginia, Wyoming or Saudi Arabia. North Carolinians have nothing to gain by supporting energy monopolies and fossil fuel barons.
If North Carolina conservatives are actually driven by conservatism, then getting rid of a state energy monopoly on renewables should be a no-brainer. If liberals and independents are concerned with environmental protection and mitigating climate change, then getting rid of a state energy monopoly over renewables should also be a no-brainer.
Read more at thetimesnews.com