What Will It Cost to Adopt Clean Energy?
Last August, President Barack Obama announced new Environmental Protection Agency (epa) rules on allowable carbon dioxide emissions by utilities. The rules mandate that carbon dioxide emissions be reduced from 2005 levels by 32 percent by 2030. Around 30 states will have to cut emissions by more than 32 percent and at least 12 will have to implement 40 to 48 percent reductions.
According to Forbes, the new guidelines are the “most far-reaching regulation for the energy sector in the history of the United States.”
The cost to America will be large. But how large?
Analyst Paul Driessen, writing on Townhall.com, says that to meet these goals, electricity rates in some states will not merely double to levels found in green California, but quadruple to levels paid in some countries like Denmark and Germany.
Last October, the National Economic Research Associates (nera) consulting group found that the costs to comply with epa’s proposal could total $366 billion. The actual epa regulations are 9 percent more stringent than those analyzed by nera.
The conservative Heritage Foundation says there will be an additional $2.5 trillion loss to gross domestic product due to higher energy costs, increased job losses and lower economic activity. The epa’s new rules will “hammer everything we make, grow, ship, eat and do,” wrote Driessen (Aug. 8, 2015).
Many people love to argue the economic benefits of solar and wind power, but the bottom line is that the government wouldn’t be forcing the utilities to adopt wind and solar power if it made economic sense for them to do so. Profit-focused businesses naturally try to make as much money as they can. If green power made economic sense for them, they would have done it.
So there will be a cost. And it will be big. And it will get passed down to consumers.
The question is just how big, and is it worth it?