What are the enviros afraid of?

Environmentalists are a funny bunch. They often claim the mantle of popular opinion, but rarely do they talk about the costs and the real-world tradeoffs associated with government policies aimed at forcing us all to be “green” (at least according to their definition). They also talk a lot about transparency (at least when it comes to their opponents).

But, the moment someone tries to illustrate that “green” policies cost consumers more, they cry foul. The case of PNM’s proposal to put a line item on their electric bills showing that consumers are being forced to pay more for electricity generated by wind and solar generated howling opposition from Steve Michel, chief counsel for Western Resource Advocates who said, “Line-item treatment of renewable energy on bills creates a target for customer dissatisfaction.”

Duh! As the Rio Grande Foundation pointed out in its study of New Mexico’s Renewable Portfolio Standard, ratepayers in the state will be forced to pay an additional $2.3 billion for electricity over the period of 2011 to 2020. That number is back-loaded as the number ratchets up from a mere 10% renewables in 2011 to 20% renewables by 2020.

As Jonah Goldberg recently noted in his Albuquerque speech, utilities like PNM are the preferred model of today’s left. Government-imposed rules and regulations raise costs while ignorant consumers blame the company and free enterprise, not policymakers, for price hikes and shoddy service. If we are all going to pay more for our electricity, we should at least be told why.