Policy: Environment & Energy

Report: Electric bills to rise 29 percent if environmentalists get their way

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Ashe Schow,Energy and Environment,Electricity

If environmentalists get their way and force the United States to adopt European Union-style renewable energy policies, consumers will see their monthly electricity bills increase by 29 percent.

That finding comes from a new study by Robert Bryce, a senior fellow at the conservative Manhattan Institute, which found that countries that adopted stringent renewable-energy policies incurred “dramatically higher energy costs.”

While some countries in Europe instituted cap-and-trade and mandated the use of solar, wind and other renewable-energy sources, the U.S. took a less intrusive approach, according to Bryce.

“As a result of this policy difference, there is now a sharp divide between the two economies on electricity prices and emissions reductions,” Bryce said. “Prices are higher in Europe, yet emissions reductions are greater in the U.S.”

In Germany, for example, residential electricity customers pay nearly three times as much as U.S. customers.

The American approach has also reduced carbon emissions to a greater degree than the European approach. In Germany, Europe’s largest economy, carbon emissions increased by 1.3 percent from 2011 to 2012.

Part of the reason for the United States' success has been the shale revolution, which Bryce discussed in a Feb. 2 piece in the Wall Street Journal.

But supporters of green technology in America have tried to push America toward the European model, especially by adopting cap-and-trade. Doing so would result in higher energy costs for Americans. If you want to see how Bryce arrived at his numbers, you can read the lengthy explanation in his study.

“[T]he European Union’s mandates for the use of renewables have resulted in higher prices (directly paid for electricity as well as indirectly paid via subsidies extended to renewable and conventional power suppliers),” Bryce said. “And the EU’s cap-and-trade regime has distorted markets, discouraging the use of both nuclear and natural gas power plants and thus helping to spur increased use of coal, which emits far more carbon dioxide for the electricity that it yields.”

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