Arizona Eagletarian

Arizona Eagletarian

Monday, September 21, 2015

Corp Commissioner Bob Stump's cheap shot at the solar industry -- UPDATED 9-22-15 1:50pm MST

Couched in esoteric quasi-intellectual rhetoric, Bob Stump earlier this summer took a cheap shot, masquerading as a quaint short story justifying his shameless advocacy on behalf of Arizona Public Service and other investor-owned electric power utilities.

The ironic title of his dubious attack on solar and thinly-veiled knock on a local activist is George B. Green Rediscovers Self-Reliance and Independent Thought. On Friday, attorney Hugh Hallman included the story as an exhibit to an application for rehearing (on the grounds that Stump should have either recused himself or been disqualified from considering the decision on APS' solar fee increase late month) he filed at the Corporation Commission on behalf of intervenor Sunrun, Inc.

Therefore, the story, in spite of any possible copyright claims either Stump or the Edison Foundation might have on it, is clearly and entirely in the public domain. For your reading pleasure, here it is in screenprint images.

The quote above is the first of the June 2015 Edison Foundation newsletter pages dedicated to Stump's story. After reading it, can anyone reasonably argue that the commissioner does NOT have a demonstrable bias against independent companies providing rooftop solar to homeowners in Arizona? The quote appears to be from an industry event on March 19, 2015.

Right from the start, it seems quite apparent that the author projected his biases onto his dubiously fictional George. This story lays bare the fact that Stump has heard the arguments of the solar industry and environmental activists. He clearly understands many of the issues. But he has developed rationalizations that allow him to disregard the concerns of anyone other than the monopoly utilities.

What other purpose could he have had for telling this particular story, other than to turn his nose up at concerned citizens recognizing inevitable disruptive technological innovations and declare those citizens to be misguided fools? 

On this second page of the narrative (above), Stump asks rhetorical questions and then proceeds to answer them, as if making an argument. But he doesn't make an argument, let alone a sound or valid one.
Energy independence? From what? From Middle East oil perhaps? This isn't yet possible.
That's not an argument, but he wants you to think he made a valid argument. There's probably a fallacy name for that tactic.
From the utility? That's not possible, either.
Notice, not only is it not possible YET (like independence from Middle East oil), it's just not possible. From the quote in the first image above, it's as plain as the nose on my face that Stump will do everything in YOUR power (that you delegated to him when you elected him to the Corporation Commission) to prevent you and "George" from ever being able to live off the (electric) grid.
Freedom to do what? Perhaps to become energy independent and engage in choice? George [actually, Stump] feels these are circular arguments.
Nothing more and nothing less than author Stump cloaking HIS bias by projecting it onto his George Green. Stump then fallaciously argues, with an appeal to authority (the National Academy of Engineering), that because the electric grid is considered the top engineering achievement of the 20th Century, there's no possibility for any technological development that could ever make the grid obsolete.

Of course, Stump's absolutely full of beans. Perhaps Elon Musk's introduction of the Powerwall last spring took place after Stumpy wrote his story. Regardless, there's no way a utility regulator could have been ignorant of ongoing R&D efforts to develop home storage of solar-generated electricity.

In furthering his specious argument that there's no way to become independent of monopoly utilities, Stumpy notes that Uber patrons still use public infrastructure (streets) and personal computing devices with the associated apps (application software) use public (actually, in most cases, privately owned) telecommunications networks.

Both of those cited uses of infrastructure constitute false comparisons that do not relate to use of Powerwall or other soon to be available (competing) home electricity storage units. In other words, Bob Stump's projection of his condescending attitude toward renewable energy activists is complete and total bullshit.
George doesn't quite understand how solar companies are competitors with utilities. They provide intermittent energy.
Again, the author uses verbal legerdemain to hide the fact that home storage is an impending disruptive technological innovation that will ultimately make monopoly utilities completely obsolete.
Utility reliability, he recognizes, is the foundation for choice in his life.
How quaintly 20th Century. Perhaps Trash Burner Bob never read Future Shock. He probably also never read the source material for his claim that the grid was the top engineering feat. The authors of the book do not put an artificial ceiling on the accomplishment by limiting it to "the grid." A publisher's description of the book on the top engineering feats describes it thus,
Topping the list is electrification. More than half of the Top 20 would not have been possible without it. Abundant and available electric power helped spur America's economic development and distributed benefits widely, from cities to farms. This achievement clearly shines as an example of how engineering has changed the world.

Ultimately, Stump's little missive is actually an unsound argument for use of YOUR governmental authority to stifle innovation. Nothing more. Nothing less.

That, my friends, is an abuse of the authority voters delegated to him. (How long) should he be allowed to continue in office?

Tom Ryan was absolutely correct in his statement earlier this month that it's time to bulldoze the entire commission and start over from scratch.

UPDATE          UPDATE          UPDATE

Just how corrupt AND out-of-date is Trash Burner Bob Stump? Consider this contemporary (Monday) news about home electricity storage, by environmental blogger Renee Cho.
“The worldwide transition from fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy is under way …” according to the Earth Policy Institute’s new book, The Great Transition.
Between 2006 and 2012, global solar photovoltaic’s (PV) annual capacity grew 190 percent, while wind energy’s annual capacity grew 40 percent, reported the International Renewable Energy Agency. The agency projects that by 2030, solar PV capacity will be nine times what it was in 2013; wind power could increase five-fold. [...]
Batteries convert electricity into chemical potential energy for storage and back into electrical energy as needed. They can perform different functions at various points along the electric grid. At the site of solar PV or wind turbines, batteries can smooth out the variability of flow and store excess energy when demand is low to release it when demand is high. Currently, fluctuations are handled by drawing power from natural gas, nuclear or coal-fired power plants; but whereas fossil-fuel plants can take many hours to ramp up, batteries respond quickly and when used to replace fossil-fuel power plants, they cut CO2 emissions. Batteries can store output from renewables when it exceeds a local substation’s capacity and release the power when the flow is less or store energy when prices are low so it can be sold back to the grid when prices rise. For households, batteries can store energy for use anytime and provide back-up power in case of blackouts.
Batteries have not been fully integrated into the mainstream power system because of performance and safety issues, regulatory barriers, the resistance of utilities and cost. But researchers around the world are working on developing better and cheaper batteries

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