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Chu Uses Power Marketing Administrations to Implement Green Agenda
Posted By Romina Boccia On March 20, 2012 @ 5:25 pm In Energy and Environment | 5 Comments
When it comes to finding alternate pathways to force their green agenda onto Americans, President Obama and his Administration know how to dream up creative solutions. In this latest installment, Energy Secretary Steven Chu is directing Power Marketing Administrations (PMAs) to invest in a smart electrical grid that also serves as test bed for cybersecurity technologies.
PMAs are federal agencies within the Department of Energy (DOE) that distribute and sell electricity from federal hydroelectric dams at cost-based prices, which allows them to sell the electricity at below-market rates. There are four PMAs split up by region: the Bonneville Power Administration, the Western Area Power Administration, the Southeastern Power Administration, and the Southwestern Power Administration. In the past, PMAs have relied heavily on taxpayer money  to finance their capital investments.
In his March 16 memo , Chu instructs the PMAs to upgrade their transmission infrastructure, in part to enable more intermittent and unreliable “alternative” energy sources to travel over the grid. Chu also requests rate structure changes that provide incentives for energy efficiency programs, demand response programs, integration of variable resources, and preparation for electric vehicle deployment.
If the PMAs need such investments, then they should be made because it makes business sense—and funded through PMA revenues—not with taxpayer dollars because the President is running out of more transparent ways to advance his green energy agenda.
None of these are inherently bad ideas, if they were undertaken by the private sector on its own accord. Secretary Chu instructing the PMAs to “to take a leadership role in transforming our nation’s electric sector,” however, seems like a backdoor move to work toward the Administration’s agenda of incorporating more alternative energy sources in the power grid. This approach is bad policy for several reasons:
Chu’s directing the PMAs to help carry out this Administration’s green energy aspirations on taxpayers’ and ratepayers’ dime is bad policy. Smart-grid initiatives should be led by the private sector—if they make sense—and the role of government should be in identifying and removing regulatory barriers to private-sector investments. PMA infrastructure that needs upgrading or replacing should be paid for by bringing MPA rates in line with market rates for electricity, instead of burdening taxpayers with additional spending.
Article printed from The Foundry: Conservative Policy News Blog from The Heritage Foundation: http://blog.heritage.org
URL to article: http://blog.heritage.org/2012/03/20/chu-uses-power-marketing-administrations-to-implement-green-agenda/
URLs in this post:
 Image: http://blog.heritage.org/wp-content/uploads/chu.jpg
 taxpayer money: http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/1986/02/cutting-the-deficit-by-selling-federal-power-marketing-administrations
 memo: http://energy.gov/downloads/memorandum-secretary-chu-power-marketing-administrations-role-march-16-2012
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