New England holds out for renewable energy, energy costs soar, hurts the poor

underpants gnomes

The South Park underpants gnomes have come to New England. Their business plan is 1) Stop fossil fuel energy. 2) Something happens. 3) Renewable energy for all!

Electricity prices are New England are already extremely expensive yet winter has barely started. A 2 room print shop in New Hampshire paid $788 for power in November, says the NYT. Much of New England’s power (and some home heating) comes from natural gas.  Even though there is a glut of natural gas naytionwide, a dearth of pipelines is throttling supply in New England. Idiotic NIMBYs have ferociously blocked new pipelines and sources of energy because they want the area to transition to renewable energy. A regional plan to bring more energy in was killed by the Massachusetts legislature because it might slow the growth of renewable energy. These elitist NIMBYs have no clue about what to do in the meantime except to let the poor (and increasingly the middle class) freeze in the dark so our Glorious Renewable Energy Future can somehow emerge years from now. Good luck with that.

Here we see the clear tradeoff in action. Reducing carbon emissions has a clear human and economic cost. High electricity costs wallop household budgets in a region with many communities that are struggling or even outright impoverished (as recently as last year, for example, a third of the residents of Woonsocket, RI were on food stamps). This particularly harms poor and minority residents. What’s more, it helps contribute to the region’s low ranking as a place to do business and its anemic job creation.

Given that gas itself is dirt cheap and will be for the foreseeable future thanks to fracking, hurting residents through high electricity prices designed to drive energy transition is clearly a deliberate policy choice.

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