Jeffrey Deyette, Senior Energy Analyst, Union of Concerned Scientists
Jeff Deyette spoke in an effort to promote a national renewable electricity standard that, he proffered, would benefit both the environment and the economy.
Mr. Deyette began by providing an overview of the renewable electricity standards timeline, illustrating that, although widely discussed, most major enactments and revisions to state guidelines have occurred in the previous five years, with a peak occurring in 2007.
Next, Mr. Deyette discussed the policies that support implementing, both at the state level and the national level, renewable electricity standards. In regards to environmental benefits, Mr. Deyette pointed to climate change, air and water benefits, improved public health, and land use benefits. He stressed the fact that scientists believe the United States needs an 80% decrease in current carbon emissions by the year 2050 if we are to avoid the most severe of the climate change effects that we are currently on track to experience. He also spoke to the consumer benefits in place, where consumers could expect to experience whole sale price effects, more stable electricity and natural gas bills, job creation, capital investment, landowner income, and local tax revenue if and when renewable electricity standards are implemented.
Mr. Deyette offered as evidence of the effectiveness of renewable electricity standards studies that have shown that the state standards currently in place have been a driving force towards the development of booth additional renewable capacity and technology to deliver renewable electricity. The wind industry alone currently employs 85,000 in the United States, having added 35,000 new jobs and ninety-six manufacturing facilities in the last two years.
The results of a recent study illustrated the benefits that would be experienced were the US to implement a 25% by 2025 Federal RES. The study utilized the EIA’s national energy modeling system that was developed for Annual Energy Outlook 2008, using input/output models for job results. By 2025, the study showed such an implementation would displace the need for over 12.4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 547 million short tons of coal, the distance equivalent of coal cars, lined end to end, circling the earth twice. Additionally, investing in renewable energy sources at home would cause, essentially, a wealth transfer of $10.3 billion dollars, which would be kept in state by states no longer presented with a need to import coal. For consumers, average natural gas prices would fall by approximately 2.3%, with the average annual consumer electricity price reduction coming in at 4.3% savings, who would also see approximately 297,010 jobs created, in comparison to an expected 94,780 jobs which would be created by traditional fossil fuels usage.
Mr. Deyette concluded by discussing two bills currently within the Senate. The first was passed by the House, and called for a 20% by 2020 RES included in ACES. The second, passed by the Senate Energy Committee, was a 15% by 2021 RES included in ACELA. To date, however, it is unclear whether either of these bills will make it past this point.
Mr. Deyette wrapped up his presentation by talking about how RES will not break the bank, and how these standards will be a good complement to a more comprehensive energy policy.