HASSO HERING

A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

The more renewables, the more we pay

Written February 20th, 2024 by Hasso Hering

Pacific Power’s Hazelwood Substation on 17th Avenue in southwest Albany on Monday afternoon.

One of the reasons Pacific Power gives for asking for a big price increase next year is that it wants to make “continued investments in low-cost renewable energy resources.”

You’d think that low cost would translate to a lower price for consumers. But apparently the opposite is the case. The more “green” energy we demand, the more it’s going to cost.

Last week Pacific filed its rate proposals for 2025 with the Oregon Public Utility Commission. Combined, the various proposals would result in a 17 percent revenue increase of roughly $304 million.

This comes on top of electric rate increases that took effect last month. They averaged 13 percent for residential customers and nearly 17 percent for large commercial and industrial customers.

For the proposed increase next year, Pacific Power cited “key factors” that included wildfires, investments in transmission lines, more renewable energy sources, and the cost of capital.

Unless you rely on electricity for heating, it seems to me that the price of power is still relatively modest compared to everything else, especially insurance.

But Oregon’s official drive to force down the use of fossil fuels is a factor in raising the price of power.

Pacific talks about the need to develop more “low-cost renewable energy resources.” But renewable sources don’t necessarily lower the price of electricity.

In one of its brochures available online, Pacific compares three price options for residential customers. The options are based on the mix of power sources in each, which seems like fiction because our lamps and toasters don’t care whether the electrons in the wires were generated from wind or coal or hydro dams.

Still, the Pacific brochure says the price of 1,000 kilowatt hours of juice was $63 in the basic plan, where 59 percent was generated by burning coal.

The price was two dollars more in the plan called “Blue Sky Block” based on 54 percent coal and 16 percent wind power.

In the Blue Sky Usage plan (82 percent wind and no coal) it was $73. And if you wanted also to help pay for improving fish habitat, you could spend $76  in the Blue Sky Habitat plan, also mostly wind and solar.

Chances are this breakdown of prices was superseded by the price hike in January. Still, it makes the point that the more renewable the mode of generation, the higher the price.

But don’t complain to the utility. This is what Oregon wants. Or rather, it is what Oregon policy makers, including the majority elected by the people, demand. (hh)

If you ever need your exact coordinates on the earth’s surface, just check the sign on the nearest Pacific Power substation.





23 responses to “The more renewables, the more we pay”

  1. Cap B. says:

    So, do you and your lamps and toasters want to burn more fossil fuels (a la Trump) and ruin the planet as fast as you can?

    • Citizen says:

      Politics is a business, they market just like every other business. They just happen to persuade the masses with a fear of the climate and destruction of earth to accomplish their goals and gain more power. Back in the 70s the concern was the earth was cooling too much.
      The word of God says
      “As long as the earth remains, there will be planting and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night”

      • Cap B. says:

        I’d like to say, “Please confine your bible quotes to your congregation’s newsletter. Thank you very much.” But, I’m not Hasso, so, of course, my request is nil.

        • Bill Kapaun says:

          I’d like to say who in the hell do you think you are to tell someone else what is permissible to say in HASSO’S BLOG? What an entitled piece of work!

  2. Mike says:

    Nice to have a choice. And energy costs are very low compared to most of the country due to hydroelectric power. Looking forward to seeing more renewables in the mix. Coal is horrible for health.

    • Dala Rouse says:

      A couple of months ago in my power bill they listed the only means of producing power in the future is wind and solar. Hydro power isn’t listed and they showed a picture of a fish. What I read with that proposal is that they want to remove dams for the fish. Dams don’t just produce power but save us along the rivers from flooding and gives us recreation. Please pay attention to your Pacific Power bill. I think they may be headed in the wrong direction for Oregon.

  3. Al Nyman says:

    No matter what the US does, it will have no effect on global warming. And Oregon already gets more than 50% of its power from renewables and does take more carbon out of the air than it adds. There was an article that I read that said planting a trillion trees would accomplish everything liberals want but would not provide liberal politicians with the tax money they want. And Cap, Biden is going to make the US a third world country with his policies. Without natural gas the world will freeze.

  4. Curious Citizen says:

    This 17% increase they want would be in addition to the 12.9% increase in January *and* the 21% increase in 2023. Added all together that would be 50.9% ! Some of us consumers really would struggle with this increase in 2025.
    -per Oregon Live Feb. 18, 2024
    “It would be the third double-digit rate increase within three years – on top of the 12.9% increase for residential, business and industrial customers that took effect in January to cover wildfire mitigation costs and market volatility and the 21% rate hike for residential customers in 2023 to cover the high costs of generating power.”

    It sure would be nice if someone paid my increasing insurance premiums for me.

  5. Guy Sir says:

    It is very interesting that there isn’t a bigger shift towards geothermal energy production in the PNW.

  6. hj.anony1 says:

    There is no doubt we are all getting gouged in 2024. With the new year came rising monthly bills for home/auto insurance, communication company subscriptions, city util bills and the good old power company.

    Speaking to the latter, the more they raise rates … the more enticing is home solar installation!

  7. Bruce says:

    The climate alarmists all ignore geology, archeology, experimental evolutionary biology, history, and the philosophy of science. All showing that warming has been beneficial on balance. And the assumption underlying modern science, that the future will resemble the past. So, cheer don’t jeer warming.

  8. Timothy A Avila says:

    Yeah I just got through writing about…this solar ,wind energy should of been done back in 1974. At Lutz Solar in CA Mojave desert.. again the power plants are charging us for free energy..who are these greedy morons that they think there entitled for land ,water sun,wind oceans ..all of a sudden there interested in environment,,same with the marijuana laws .. always in our business….they want there cut right off the top ..best thing to do is install your own Solar panels ..and wind mills ..yo

  9. Annie says:

    My understanding is that Pacific Power is not a public utility but rather a privately own company with shareholders.
    Regardless, over 50 percent raise in just three years is not acceptable.
    If you agree; do what I did and write the Oregon Public Utilities Commission as they are the one who have the final say.

    • Al Nyman says:

      The last time I looked was when the BPA shut down wind energy because they had a water surplus and didn’t need wind power and wind power was 4 times the BPA rate. So if you want wind and solar power, get out your billfold and watch greenbacks fly away. And I doubt anybody, including myself, has any detailed information about climate change other than hearsay. If you read Gore’s book it is filled with rumors more than facts. And anybody, such as AOC who predicted life will be over in 10 years, really believes that a 2-5 degree increase in temperature will destroy us is a moron.

      • hj.anony1 says:

        Oh Al, my buddy! We love some AOC. She started the line of questioning to take down your dear leader, the fraud and con Donald J Trump!

  10. Matt Bixby says:

    The solutions put forth by the Green Revolution will cause far more harm than an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide. The notion that CO2 in its minuscule concentrations (less than 1/2000th of our atmosphere!!!) is dangerously warming the Earth is the greatest hoax ever in our history.

  11. Daniel says:

    Considering how much energy is in 1,000 kilowatt hours of juice, I’d say that $73 is still very, very, cheap. It’s amazing what we take for granted!

    • Bill Kapaun says:

      Do you have a clue how much that $73 in BASIC charges ends up being when they add on all the other TAXES & fees? Double it!

      • Daniel says:

        Okay, so let’s say the real cost to the consumer is $150 – it’s still enough energy to lift well over 26,000,000 (yes, million) pounds 100 feet off the ground. Sounds like a steal to me! Just trying to give an illustration of what 1000 kwh translates to, since to most people it’s probably just a number.

        • Bill Kapaun says:

          Spoken by someone who obviously doesn’t pay their own bills.

          Why should I have to contribute to political causes like “Public Purpose”? Just EXACTLY what do they do for me that I would agree with?

          • Daniel says:

            I’ve paid my own bills (and sometimes the bills of others) for decades now, but you make a good point – I’m incredibly blessed, and being able to pay my power bill is not something that I ever think of or worry about (for what it’s worth, it averages about $30/mo, but I live in an apartment with very good insulation). I shouldn’t assume that everyone else is in the same situation.

            If you don’t believe that we, as a society, need to change where we get our energy from and how we use it, or that less fortunate people deserve some help, then I suspect that you would (very understandably) not agree with any of the programs that Public Purpose funds. Point taken.

  12. Glenn Edwards says:

    I own a local insurance agency. My carrier incurred the cost payouts of three catastrophic fires in 2020. The destruction to homes, businesses and other structures had never been seen in Oregon history. We went from being a low cost home insurance state to a much higher cost state because of one very hot windy dry summer. For every dollar in premium we received as a carrier, we paid out $2.70 in claim losses that year. I have heard people say, blame it on forest management. Try that excuse on an insurance risk analyst? Places like Sun River and beautiful Black Butte Ranch are going to have to make dramatic changes just to remain insurable due to wild fire risk. Hasso, there is an abundance in your article that is missed. There are costs to carbon that hit us in other ways – coal pollution effects public health, home insurance costs have risen by sizable amounts, add in the impacts to farmers in Southern Oregon who face new limits on irrigation just to name a few shifted costs. Adding wind and solar are capital intensive up front but then costs drop after the initial investment is made. This was only noted as one of several causes for the rate increase. I don’t care much for the two or three tiered pricing scheme since it would seem to disincentivize continued progress to cleaner energy. Charge more for coal power and then see what might happen to the grid!

  13. Jamie B says:

    I almost fell for Pacific Power’s Blue Sky bs…but a little research shows it’s associated with Berkshire Hathaway aka Warren Buffett–A businessman investor-billionaire many times over..

    Why should we subsidize HIM & HIS companies when they’re already getting our tax money via US green-energy subsidies AND the tax rates & loopholes only available for earners in the top 1% ?! It’s double or triple dipping already. They’d have us believing we should shoulder similar climate responsibilities as them & other US big energy companies.

    It’s WELFARE SUPPORT combined with low/NO income taxes for ultra-wealthy individuals & businesses that killed our middle class!

    Fight the narrative which their kind & media bark out nonstop. There’s a climate crisis and they’re going to lie, cheat, steal & transfer responsibility to anywhere possible–While simultaneously weakening any regulatory authority that attempts to hold them accountable.

 

 
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