After more than three years and 600 blogs, I re-visited some of the topics and energy news that have been hot at Energy Consumers of the Carolinas. ECC started as a place to reflect on the energy environment in the Carolinas, an environment of deep interest to me with my decades of Carolinas’ work.
I started the blog because a lot of middle-ground viewpoints were not heard on behalf of customers. That opinion was proven by the recent South Carolina Senate vote that neglected energy customer protection regarding a Santee Cooper sale. If you are keeping score: Vote to protect districts in re-apportionment 44; Consumers 1.
ECC has been consistent in important energy viewpoints, which still are the foundation of my thinking:
- Energy develops best with logical capitalism – smart companies / smart regulation.
- Customers need solid information and need to be heard.
- Technology is a concrete thing – predictable – and human nature is not – which affects how well policy can be implemented.
As I see it, North Carolina is a work in progress. If the governor’s Clean Energy Plan is tackled collaboratively, not politically, it will be positive for customers; if policymakers make and force decisions in hearing rooms with special interests, it fails miserably.
South Carolina opted for government efficiency – an oxymoron – and will pay for the Santee Cooper attempt-to-reform decision. It is an opportunity missed that sends a meaningful message to business: South Carolina is a quaint throwback in the energy debate; the Senate voted for business irrelevance. Customers will be stuck paying the $4 billion in nuclear debt with nothing to show for it.
Most of all, and readers of ECC have noticed, ECC blogs are about more than the Carolinas. Energy is about more than the Carolinas and those stories need attention, too. ECC has explored:
- Smart integration of solar and battery in Washington state.
- Regional Transmission Organizations
- How Texas can learn from its deep freeze.
- How Virginia is tapping a monster wind field.
- How NextEra has systematically transformed to a clean energy practitioner.
- The first no-gasoline filling station in Maryland.
- Developing green hydrogen.
- Cyber security on the grid.
- And lots more. More than the Carolinas.
Bottom line messages: The energy business, technology, and need for wise regulation have major areas up for grabs. How a state approaches energy overall belies its common sense. A state that does not innovate across the board jeopardizes a huge resource for its citizens and businesses.
As we mark our next year, a big thank you. Thousands followed, commented, or called. That also said that people do care about energy. They should, too. Energy will define us in a big way in the future. You have an important voice. Make it heard.