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Pending Legislation Could Cut Energy Bills and Stimulate Job Growth
Energy bills and carbon dioxide emissions could be cut and job growth stimulated by pending House and Senate energy legislation, if adopted, according to a new study.
The Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 100 million metric tons, save 22 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity usage, create 21,000 net new jobs, and displace a total of 32 500-megawatt conventional power plants by 2030, according to American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy‘s (ACEEE) five-month study. The proposal would save consumers $5 billion in 2030 and a cumulative $60.5 billion through 2030.
"RES saves money for consumers in all regions, and for the nation as a whole," says Steven Nadel, executive director of the ACEEE. "Although the opponents of the RES claim that it would raise electricity prices and harm regions like the Southeast, ACEEE’s analysis shows these concerns to be based more on political rhetoric than substantive facts."
According to the ACEEE report, the direct energy efficiency savings, and the indirect impacts of efficiency and renewable energy on natural gas and coal prices offset the higher cost of renewable energy. These conclusions apply to both a national analysis and to separate analyses of the Southeast and the Midwest regions.
The study also examined these renewable and efficiency policies against a climate policy framework similar to the Lieberman-Warner America’s Climate Security Act under consideration by the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. These scenarios showed even greater benefits in terms of lower energy prices, greater consumer savings, and a stronger economy from setting RES and resource targets, the ACEEE says.
"Renewable electricity and energy efficiency policies should be cornerstones of our climate policy. By enacting the RES in the energy bill, Congress can make the best down payment possible on reducing carbon emissions in the electricity sector," says Bill Prindle, policy director of the ACEEE.