Analysts: Power bills could jump under renewable requirement


Household electricity bills could jump an average of $115 per year by 2025 if the U.S. adopts a White House-backed “clean energy standard” forcing power utilities to use more wind and solar, according to a new government analysis.

The Energy Information Administration’s report came at the request of Rep. Ralph Hall, R-Texas, the chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee. It examined the economic effects of a clean energy standard under 18 different scenarios.

President Barack Obama has asked lawmakers to set a clean energy standard requiring power utilities to generate 80 percent of their power from wind, solar and other easily replenished sources by 2035.

The report concluded that wind and biomass would get the biggest boosts under one such renewable energy mandate, as power utilities retire old coal-fired plants and new nuclear generation capacity comes online.

And the EIA found that between 2009 and 2035, carbon dioxide emissions would be cut by more than 50 percent under the policy.

But the decrease would come at a cost. Although electricity prices wouldn’t increase much initially, by 2025, they would be an average 1.5 cents more per kilowatt hour than expected without the policy, a difference of about 16 percent. In 2035, the EIA estimates electricity prices would be about 2.7 cents per kilowatt hour — or 29 percent — higher than they would be without the clean energy standard.

Nationwide, under the policy, household electricity bills could increase by $115 per year in 2025 and by $211 in 2035, according to the report.

Electricity prices in Texas could increase by 42 percent, according to the study. Other potentially hard hit markets include Oklahoma, Tennessee, Kentucky, Colorado, eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Long Island and southern Illinois.

Hall said it’s too high a price to pay. The report shows that a clean energy standard is nothing more than “an expensive new electricity tax on the American people,” he said.

“This is obviously the wrong policy for America,” Hall said. “Now, more than ever, the United States should be pursuing an all-of-the-above energy strategy that lowers prices through development of all energy resources, not raises them through technology mandates.”

Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Texas, the panel’s top Democrat, said the findings of the study were built on flawed scenarios designed by Hall and don’t reflect the White House proposal.

“The requested analysis was designed to show a worst-case cost scenario,” Johnson said. Under Hall’s request, Johnson said, the EIA was forced to omit “a number of important factors and sensitivities that would have made for a much more comprehensive and realistic picture of our future energy economy.”

The EIA is expected to release another study of Obama’s proposed clean energy standard next month — but this time, the document is coming at the request of Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M. He sought a broader analysis that would show the market impacts of a variety of clean energy standards that could be passed by Congress.

Jennifer Dlouhy

15 Responses

  1. Hannah says:

    The article is about renewable energy… if you look past the surface you’ll see tremendous opportunities. If energy companies are forced to invest in renewable energy as the demand for energy increases in our country, energy companies will probably have an opportunity to take pause and decide if they want to invest in new technology to satiate the demand OR invest in energy efficiency education and programs. Energy efficiency studies have shown time and time again there’s more bang for the buck with energy efficiency. I’ll also bet that you’ll behave differently in your homes and businesses if energy costs increase. I’ll bet you’ll demand higher quality construction (non-leaky buildings or duct work), more efficient heating and cooling equipment. Perhaps you’ll have all your employees turn off their computers at night. Sure wind turbines will kill birds but so do airplanes and windows on skyscrapers. Coal plants pollute our water and fish. Pregnant women once could eat tuna. Imagine that. Nuclear power plant waste is dangerous. All forms of technology are going to damage the environment and impact our lives. We have an opportunity to make wise decisions that keep the air clean for our children and grandchildren. We are not entitled to lives of excess. You have to look past your nose to see the impact (consequences of our decisions) and the opportunities to make a bright future for all people.

  2. bob says:

    Why do you people have such seething hatred of our president? He’s trying to set policies in place that will hopefully one day relieve us of our dependence on oil. But, as usual, the uneducated masses here scream and yell that it will cost them a few extra dollars per month nearly 15 YEARS down the road. Surely ou will have gotten sufficient raises to cover that cost by then, no?

  3. bob says:

    Why do rednecks have such seething hatred of our president? He’s trying to set policies in place that will hopefully one day relieve us of our dependence on oil. But, as usual, the uneducated masses here scream and yell that it will cost them a few extra dollars per month nearly 15 YEARS down the road. Surely you will have gotten sufficient raises from your Wal Mart jobs to cover that cost by then, no?

  4. Bob in Champions says:

    So, the price of clean air is $10/month? Where do I write my check?

  5. Jackalope says:

    Check prices at Around here, 100% renewable prices are already 2-3 cents higher per kwh. And don’t forget the rolling blackouts – solar and wind cannot keep up with the demand now that the government is also forcing coal and gas powered plants to shut down.

  6. tanstaafl says:

    We should extract all the coal and oil and gas from the ground, now, while I’m alive, so that I can enjoy cheap energy. As far as my kids, grandkids, great grandkids, and all future Americans go…to heck with ’em.

  7. Diana says:

    Where is PETA when we need them (ha), some estimates come in at
    400,000+ migratory birds that have been maimed & murdered by flying
    through wind farms, meanwhile several small oil companies are being
    fined for the deaths of twenty-some odd birds that landed in oil holding
    pits. I’m holding my breath to see Greenpeace & PETA’s response (Not).
    Lastly, don’t forget the broughaha from the Elitest Left seaside mansion dwellers that did not want wind farms ruining THEIR ocean view.

  8. rgvguy says:

    Only in Texas would the residents complain about having to pay an extra 8 to 9 dollars a month for cleaner air. And people wonder why Perry is getting laughed right off the Republican nomination stage….

  9. Greg says:

    I thought increased regulations did not increase cost to business and consumer?

  10. Adler says:

    We all know that tomorrrow O’BozO will be on his telepromter annoucing another taxpayer supported program, so his peeps don’t have to pay any increased energy costs due to his idoitic mishandling of the nation.

  11. Frank says:

    So it seems that the comments here are more political than rational thinking. If you ask a Republican about this study they will tell you that renewables are terrible for the US and if you ask a Democrat they will tell you the opposite. If the EIA was asked to build a report by REPUBLICAN Ralph Hall of Texas then the outcome is pretty obvious. ANY REPORT THAT IS ATTEMPTING TO PREDICT ENERGY PRICES 15 to 20 YEARS FROM NOW IS SUBJECT TO BE WRONG.
    Raise your hand if 10 years ago you thought that Shale was going to be an energy game changer?
    Not very many I assume, if any.
    In 1988 the price of oil was $10 a barrel…in 1998, a decade later, the price of oil was… guessed it..$10.
    My point being that don’t takes these reports to prove your point about Obama and Renewables, take it with a grain of salt because they ARE NOT FACTS.
    Renewables are constantly changing, There are huge investments in Geothermal in Nevada. Huge investments in Wind Farms around Abilene, Texas. Huge Investments in Solar in Germany. The technology is getting better and cheaper. If Cap and Trade or a Carbon tax becomes reality then these become more viable. If the MLP designation extends to renewables then you will have an influx of investment that will make it even more viable. I still think we are a decade or two and the bridge starts with Natural Gas…but don’t discount renewables as a Democrat left wing idea….it will help us in reducing our dependence on foreign oil and using our domestic resources…..I don’t know how much more American, Renewables could be….

  12. pdh42 says:

    txloanguy, Nobama also stated that if it was up to him our electricity would jump 3 times what it is…. Gasoline would also rise to around 7-8 dollars per gallon…. I do hope he is tossed out of office before he can make those statements a reality….

  13. pdh42 says:

    I do declare…. Nobama is not going to stop until we either throw him out of office unless he breaks the country first…. I do think though that breaking this country is what Nobama and Michelle are all about….

  14. txloanguy says:

    Obama told us we needed to pay more for energy and that we have to use green energy, especially his campaign supporters that he gave Stimulus money to.

  15. David in Houston says:

    Hey, if Eddie Berniece says you don’t need to keep your money, then you don’t need to keep your money, right? The truth is likely that your bills will rise much more than the study even shows, but hey, leftwingers say it’s for a good cause, so you all should just grin and bear it.