“PURPA has been the most effective single measure in promoting renewable energy.”
What if Congress passed a law that forced you to buy intermittent energy for the same price as reliable energy? What if, in an attempt to promote “alternative” energy sources such as wind power, Congress passed a law that enabled wind to crowd out reliable resources? Congress actually passed that law in 1978, the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA). Its role has changed and its scope has narrowed, but “PURPA is still alive and kicking.”
President Jimmy Carter, working from the viewpoint that the federal government had to intervene in markets to reduce demand and increase supply, formulated PURPA as part of a five-part National Energy Plan.
Oil and gas were seen as wasting resources relative to plentiful coal, so public policy needed to transfer demand from the former to the latter.…