Planks for Platform
We oppose government creation of energy monopolies and oligopolies, and picking winners and losers among fuel types, including policies currently favoring mainly only oil, natural gas, wind and solar. Preferential policies block competition, innovation and diversification, and increase the risks of economic and environmental crises, and war.
We oppose national oil and natural gas monopolies that have led to wealth disparity, economic crises and war, especially in the unstable Middle East. The U.S. should pass NOPEC law to repeal immunity from antitrust lawsuits currently granted to OPEC and state oil monopolies. OPEC countries and Russia should be encouraged to privatize and break-up their nationalized oil monopolies, and open lands to competing domestic developers.
We oppose the granting of preferential policies to the U.S. oil and natural gas industry (e.g., Big Oil), even as they become less competitive, including access to government-owned natural resources land at no charge or below fair market rate, tax subsidies and shelters, and environmental exemptions. Exemptions from environmental regulation must be granted indiscriminately to all energy sources, including coal.
We oppose mandates and subsidies favoring wind and solar energy, including over other more dispatchable renewable energy sources like bio-energy, hydropower and geothermal. We oppose Renewable Energy Credits. We oppose subsidies for nuclear power, including the Zero Emissions Credit. We oppose government insurance exemptions for nuclear power against radiation disasters. (We believe the courts should discourage environmental damage, including climate change and radiation disasters.)
We oppose the granting of monopolies to U.S. natural gas and electricity utilities. We oppose state regulations favoring utility power projects, including a recent Minnesota law ordaining the construction of a natural gas plant on property owned by the utility monopoly. We oppose so-called “competitive bidding” for natural gas and electricity supplies, which allows utility monopolies to select bids from themselves and cronies even when offering higher prices.
We recognize that free markets require granting all competitors with the right to build necessary natural gas pipelines and electricity transmission and distribution grids. We support the construction of competing gas pipelines and lines, including allowing competitors to use of utility right of ways. However, a possible market imperfection is multiple pipelines and grids could be more expensive, dangerous, environmentally-destructive, and difficult to secure easements for without the use of eminent domain.
Meanwhile, we support hastening the deregulation of wholesale and retail natural gas and electricity markets by requiring the sharing of regulated utility pipelines and grids with competitors. Deregulation of natural gas and electricity in 24 and 18 states, respectively, and at the Federal level, has suffered by allowing bargain sales of utility assets to affiliates, pipeline and grid constraints, and rigged trading schemes.
We support removal of all conflicts of interest by starting with the sale of all assets owned by the utility transmission and distribution monopolies that are to be deregulated, such as generation plants. Assets must be sold by the utility monopoly on the open market to the highest-bidding non-affiliate. Any stranded benefits from sales must be returned to ratepayers, especially from sales of aging and amortized coal and nuclear plants receiving grandfather exemptions from environmental and safety laws.
We support the upgrading of regulated utility pipelines and grids. The California energy crisis resulted from the withholding of electricity by suppliers protected from competition by transmission constraints (not accounting practices at Enron). Constraints are still encouraging excessive regulation by Regional Transmission Operators for controlling traffic and congestion and preventing shortages, excess supply including capacity markets, preferential access to the grid, and cost-shifting including transmission and load-following costs from wind energy.
We support deregulation that creates level and competitive playing fields. Regulators must write the rules without undue influence from market participants and other stakeholders. We oppose rigged trading schemes like those used in California during the 1990s including allowing overscheduling of lines, favoring out-of-state electricity with higher prices, and capping retail electricity prices. Texas and Ohio can serve as better models for electricity deregulation.
We support the transition to smart metering and grids that directly connects generators with users operating under bilateral contracts. The market should be allowed to make the major decisions (not regulators).