Amid Battle for Scarce State Dollars, Costly CA Energy Program Gets Scrutinized

In case you haven't noticed, California is big into alternative energy. Just how big? $1.6 billion was spent last year and $15 billion over the last decade as education and public services fought for scraps. The spending is attracting new scrutiny.

"Even as California has scaled back education, law enforcement and assistance to the disabled in this era of financial stress, the [state's energy-efficiency and alternative-energy program] has continued unrestrained and is expected to grow significantly in coming years," write Ralph Vartabedian and Evan Halper.

"The spending is drawing increasing scrutiny. Some of the energy investments have gone bust, electricity costs have soared, and some economists have disputed the benefits. The legality of some consumer fees that fund the programs also is being challenged in court."

"Suddenly, you look up and there are literally hundreds of millions of dollars going into investments that produce marginal benefits," said state Sen. Rod Wright (D-Inglewood), a member of the Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee.

"You know the tale of Robin Hood? Well, this is robbing the 'hood," he said. "You are taking from poor people to give to rich people."

Full Story: California's alternative-energy program under scrutiny


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