Any public discussion about energy should be transparent. The August 27th letter to the Triangle Business Journal from Garland Tucker III and Francis DeLuca ("Just Say No to Renewable Energy Credits"), wasn't transparent and, if left unresponded to, will mislead the public.
First, their letter referenced a Bill Gates interview in the Financial Times to support their argument that government should stop supporting clean energy. Their selective reference obscured Mr. Gates' big picture conclusion, which the following quote of the Financial Times story captures:
"Tens of billions of dollars should therefore be spent by governments on research and development in renewables over coming years, three times current levels, to identify reliable sources of 'zero-carbon' power that can be exploited at scale,” Mr. Gates said. “Because there’s so much uncertainty and there are so many different paths, it should be like the Manhattan Project and the Apollo Project in the sense that the government should put in a serious amount of R&D.'"
Unless Mr. Tucker and Mr. DeLuca support Mr. Gates' argument that North Carolina government should participate in "moonshot"-type support of cleantech R&D, the public should question their selective quoting of Mr. Gates.
Next, their letter casts North Carolina's supportive clean energy policies as benefitting only a few giant banks and insurance companies by giving them tax breaks. Once again, their selective presentation of information is misleading. As rooftop solar businesses, we can say with confidence that the many people who benefit from our State’s clean energy policies disagree with Mr. Tucker’s and Mr. DeLuca’s characterization.
For example, the individuals and small businesses we've worked with to pursue a measure of energy liberty and happiness disagree. Our employees and their families disagree. The small businesses in town who provide us with business services disagree. And, whether or not they know it, all of the North Carolina electric utility customers who have a few more bucks in their pockets (because the solar we install means they don't have to start paying for a new billion dollar fossil fuel plant this year), would disagree.
As clean energy businesses, we tend to agree with Mr. Gates that we need a "moonshot"-type level of government support for clean energy. However, we may disagree with him slightly about how to carry out such an effort. Government R&D is part of the answer, but the private sector has a big role to play too. By supporting clean energy businesses, such as ours, our government is supporting real world innovation that will get us to the prosperous future we want.
Stew Miller, President, Yes Solar Solutions
Kathy Miller, CEO, Yes Solar Solutions
Maria Kingery, CEO, Southern Energy Management
Jason Epstein, Executive Vice President, Baker Renewable Energy