So Much for States’ Rights: Perry Claims Trump Might Overrule States’ Renewable Energy Goals

Rick Perry, Secretary of ... you know ... he'll think of it in a minute

Rick Perry, Secretary of … you know … he’ll think of it in a minute

Rick Perry, Trump’s Secretary of Energy who earlier couldn’t remember the agency’s name, announced last week that the Trump administration is having “very classified” conversations about preempting state and local support for renewable energy under the pretense of national security. Bloomberg reported:

During an on-stage interview, Perry was asked if the administration would interfere with state policies requiring utilities to get power from renewable sources. Such a move would potentially destroy efforts by California, New York and other states to fight climate change by encouraging the growth of clean power.

Perry didn’t rule it out, saying the reliability of the grid was a matter of national security.

“That’s a conversation that will occur over the next few years,” Perry said. “There may be issues that are so important that the federal government can intervene.”

Perry’s remarks raised again earlier concerns that the Trump administration could seek to preempt renewable energy standard policies that are now in place in 29 states, as well as renewable energy goals adopted by another nine states. There’s a growing number of local communities that have committed to transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy which also come under attack from these “secret” Trump administration policies.

Secretary Perry’s excuse? He suggested that increased reliance on renewable energy sources like wind and solar might make the grid unreliable given they only work when the sun is shining and the wind is blowing, creating national security concerns.

WC isn’t the only person who suspects Rick Perry’s motives have more to do with campaign contributions by the fossil fuel industry than any bogus worries about the reliability of clean energy. WC notes Perry has ordered a study examining “electricity markets and reliability” that was tasked to his Chief of Staff Brian McCormack, who previously played a central role in attacks against rooftop solar for the Edison Electric Institute. Also named to lead work on the study is political appointee Travis Fisher. Fisher previously worked for the Institute for Energy Research (IER) and American Energy Alliance (AEA), which have received ample funding from the Koch brothers and coal industry. IER and AEA have long sought to undermine renewable energy standards in states like North Carolina, a national leader in solar energy. Given the leaders of the “study,” there’s not much doubt about how their “study” will come out.

The truth – as opposed to alternative facts – is that the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)—one of the Dept. of Energy’s 17 National Laboratories – has already written studies that show we can rely on renewable energy to provide much more of our electricity than it does today. In fact, one 2012 NREL study found that we could get 80 percent of our electricity from renewable sources by 2050 using existing technologies. Other studies by states and grid operators confirm that renewable energy is reliable.

Real world experience also shows that renewable energy is working just fine. Embarrassingly for former Texas Governor Perry, Texas, the state where Rick Perry was governor, actually leads the nation in wind energy generation. In fact, nearly a quarter of the electricity generated in Texas during the first quarter of 2017 came from wind.

Of course, if you are anthropogenic climate change denier your reasoning skills are pretty dubious anyway. But, hey, for clowns like Perry campaign donors are more important than the risk of making the Earth uninhabitable. That makes abandoning claims of states’ rights seem trivial in comparison.