Monday, November 16, 2009

How Will Clean Energy Legislation Affect Electricity Prices -- And What Can You Do About It?

As we've pointed out here recently, the media is spending a lot of time talking about how much climate change and clean energy solutions legislation is going to cost, and very little time talking about how much it's going to benefit America.

But how much is it really going to affect your energy bill each month?  And what can you do to minimize the costs of transitioning America off of our dependence on oil, and on to a clean energy economy?

This blog post digs in:

How much more money per year should a typical American household expect to pay if clean energy legislation were to pass?  

It helps to learn where the information is coming from.  Analyzing the House’s proposal, the U.S. Government’s Environmental Protection Agency found that, “the overall impact on the average household, including the benefit of many of the energy efficiency provisions in the legislation, would be 22 to 30 cents per day ($80 to $111 per year).” Meanwhile, the Congressional Budget Office estimated the cost to be about $175 per household.  On the other hand, an August report by the conservative Heritage Foundation claims that “a typical family of four will pay, on average, an additional $829 each year for energy-based utility costs” after the passage of Waxman-Markey.

Hmmm, who might be exaggerating there, and what industries might fund the Heritage Foundation..?

Although it may be difficult to agree on how many more dollars Americans can expect to pay from clean energy legislation, nearly every study concurs on one fact – we can expect energy prices to increase in the future with the passage of a clean energy act.  For anyone in the country paying utility bills, from homeowners to property managers to retail owners, this means they can expect to see their electricity prices rise.

So what should we do?  Fight legislation?
Hardly.  Aside from ecological and health arguments for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and mitigating global climate change, there would be catastrophic impacts on the world’s economy were we to proceed at our current pace of fossil fuel consumption.  In fact, most scientists argue that we need to take much more drastic and strict measures at combating climate change than even the more ambitious proposals worldwide are suggesting – meaning many feel that the House and Senate acts would not go far enoughin reducing greenhouse gas emissions. 

A better solution: Energy efficiency!
A better solution: start using less electricity and less energy as we make the shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy.  The best way to do this is by reducing energy demand and using energy more efficiently. How does one do that?

A good place to start is with an energy audit of a home or building, which analyzes the energy usage of a building and recommends measures to improve efficiency. 

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1 comment:

  1. I for one would gladly pay a little more for cleaner energy. I agree with you, the cost of not doing it is much higher in the end.