December 1, 2012

Another View: Energy study's author says paper's account was misleading

No matter what fossil-fuel opponents claim, renewables will cost consumers more.

By DAVID G. TUERCK

The Press Herald's report ("Skeptics blast study making energy claims ," Nov. 27) about our recent economic study of Maine's renewable energy mandate requires many corrections that could have been resolved had reporter Steve Mistler contacted the organizations he writes about, rather than relying on a previous Washington Post report and advocates for taxpayer-subsidized alternative energy.

I will address a few.

Highlighting his obsession with discrediting the fossil fuel industry rather than report the facts, Mr. Mistler wrote that Beacon Hill Institute "has received significant funding" from the industry.

The truth is that Beacon Hill Institute has produced more than a dozen such reports for states, and only a portion of the funding for them came from a foundation whose resources partially derive from interests in fossil fuels.

Mr. Mistler also, via comment from a representative of a renewable energy advocacy group (Why did he call them and not us?), challenged our findings because we "perhaps purposely" (how sinister!) assumed that renewable energy prices estimated by the U.S. Energy Information Administration "were too low."

Had the reporter actually read the study, he would have seen that we calculated costs based upon three scenarios, one of which included straightforward Energy Information Administration assumptions.

Finally, Mr. Mistler ignored the fact our study confirms common sense. The report addressed a government mandate to purchase so-called "renewable" energy, which inherently means that if it didn't exist, consumers would not want it because it is too expensive, is inefficient, or both.

Even President Obama famously acknowledged this during his 2008 campaign, when he said his energy policy -- which would replace inexpensive coal with more costly renewables -- would mean significantly higher energy costs to consumers.

David G. Tuerck is executive director of the Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University in Boston.

 

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