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Nevermind the Naysayers, Switching to Renewable Energy is a Bargain for States
A new study from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory shows that there’s no sticker shock when states add more clean energy to their power grids. The report analyzed the 29 states that have had Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) in place for more than five years. It concluded that through 2012, these states added 46,000 megawatts of renewable energy capacity – but electricity rates only rose by about two percent on average.
The report finds that the average cost for states to comply with RPS from 2010-2012 was less than one percent, which is well below the cost caps most state legislatures put in place to prepare for adding more clean energy to the grid. The federal researchers examined other studies that found economic development benefits of anywhere from $1 billion to $6 billion, as well as more stable electricity prices, water savings, cleaner air and reduced emissions to reverse global warming.
Despite the tremendous benefits for the economy, environment and public health, right-wing groups like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) have been blitzing state legislatures across the country in an attempt to convince lawmakers to eliminate their renewable energy standards. They recently scored a victory against clean energy in Ohio with a new law that will freeze the state’s renewable energy and energy efficiency standards.
Polling shows that the American public strongly supports state renewable energy standards. The move by Ohio’s Republican Governor John Kasich and Republican-majority legislature to roll back the state’s renewable energy standards is deeply unpopular as more than 70 percent of Ohioans support the state’s renewable energy requirements. In North Carolina, a state with a legislature and governor hostile to clean energy, a new poll finds bipartisan support for policies that increase renewable power — 86 percent of Democrats, 84 percent of political independents and 77 percent of Republicans said the state should seek more clean energy solutions.
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