As the Montana legislature considers repealing the state's Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), a study by the American Tradition Institute and the Montana Policy Institute says that the state's alternative energy mandates will be costly to citizens.
The report, prepared by economists at the Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University in Boston, found that Montanans will likely pay $225 million more for power in 2015 because of the state's RPS, and it could cost them as much as $348 million more. Meanwhile there will be negligible environmental benefit, as it is unclear whether use of renewables such as wind and solar actually reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Wind and solar require significant fossil fuel-based backup power sources to accommodate variability in the availability of wind and sun for power conversion. A recent study found that wind power actually increases pollution and greenhouse gas emissions due to these required backup systems.
"These findings reveal the mythology behind what we've been promised about a 'new energy economy' that brings loads of 'Green jobs,'" said Paul Chesser, executive director of the American Tradition Institute. "Renewables mandates raise power rates and drive business where the electricity is more affordable, and all they do is take the jobs with them and relocate the emissions as well."
Other findings from the ATI/MPI report:
· Over the period of 2010 to 2015, the Act will cost Montanans an additional $1.865 billion over conventional power, within a range of $1.102 billion and $2.886 billion.
· Montana's electricity prices will increase by an average of 1.33 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh), or 18 percent, in 2015, within a range of $0.83 cents per kWh, or 11 percent and 2.06 cents per kWh, or 28 percent.
· By 2015 Montana will lose an average of 1,874 jobs, within a range of between 1,172 jobs under our low cost scenario and 2,893 jobs under our high cost scenario.
· In 2015, the RPS mandate will reduce annual wages by an average of $520 per worker, within a range of between $325 per worker $803 per worker.
· Due to higher home energy costs, in 2015, annual real disposable income will fall by $175 million, within a range of $109 million and $270 million.
"Montana could be at the forefront of energy innovation and in reducing our dependence on foreign energy sources." said Carl Graham, CEO of Montana Policy Institute. "Instead, we're subsidizing flavor-of-the-day industries and exporting our jobs to places that care much less about the environment than we do.
"Montana lawmakers should consider these facts as they weigh our economic and energy future."
See the ATI/MPI Study of the Effects of Federal Renewable Portfolio Standard Legislation on the U.S. Economy by clicking on one of the links at the bottom of this page.