Renewable electricity will save dollars

A national policy requiring 15% of American electricity to be produced from renewable sources would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 120m metric tons by 2030, researchers have predicted.

The analysis, by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), also showed that the Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) included in the House of Representatives’ Energy Bill would reduce electricity bills.

The RES, which was passed by the House as an amendment to the bill in August, requires 15% of electricity sales to be provided through renewable sources and energy efficiency by 2020.

ACEEE found that by 2030, carbon emissions will be reduced by 121m metric tons and 22bn kilowatt-hours of electricity usage will be saved.

The researchers also calculated that customers would save more than $3bn on their bills and 41,000 new jobs would be created.

“This analysis dashes the notion that RES raises electricity rates,” said ACEEE policy director Bill Prindle.

“Our modelling shows that the RES reduces power prices, customer bills, and capacity needs in all parts of the United States.”

“Since renewable and efficiency resource standards also cut carbon emissions, they should be the cornerstones of US energy and climate policy for the power sector.”

ACEEE also recommended that a more aggressive set of standards – where a 15% RES is coupled with a separate 15% energy efficiency standard – could save another 480bn kilowatt-hours of electricity usage per year by 2030, and reduce annual carbon emissions by another 590m metric tons.

It could also reduce electricity prices by a further 0.7 cents per kilowatt hour and create an additional 166,000 new jobs in 2030 on top of those created by the RES.

Although the Energy Bill has been approved by the House of Representatives, it will have to be reconciled with a different approach taken by the Senate before it can become law.

Kate Martin

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie