Carbon fee can ease energy transition -- Kermit Hovey

April 1, 2019

Thanks for reporting the good news in the March 25 State Journal story, “Green energy cheaper than coal,” that clean wind and solar energy can beat coal-fired electrical generation. The conversion to clean energy, however difficult, is necessary and urgent for individual and societal health.

The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act in the U.S. House would help both ease and stimulate that transition. A dividend to the American public would cushion the impact of transitioning energy prices. An increasing fee on the carbon content of fossil fuel would make more crystal clear to utilities that they should quickly go clean and green.

However, in fairness to all players, Tom Content’s analogy of buying a new car actually supports “being asked to pay for both.” If we “get a more efficient car” we can’t legally “stop making payments on the inefficient car” until we pay the old car’s loan off. Whether shareholders or ratepayers, parts of society with old and new generation plants will justifiably be “asked to pay for both” if they haven’t already.

This transition isn’t easy, but it is essential. And it won’t be accomplished if we avoid such real questions and conflicts.

Kermit Hovey, Middleton