Outside Star Trek’s mythical “dilithium” power crystals, there is no such thing as clean energy. That’s one lesson learned from a new Beacon Hill Institute report, The Economic Impact of Arizona’s Renewable Energy Standard and Tariff. The report illuminates the expense of renewable energy as well.
In 2006, the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) passed the Renewable Energy Standard and Tariff, requiring 15 percent of Arizona’s electricity to come from renewable sources, including wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal technologies, by 2025.
Beacon Hill estimates that in 2025 the ACC mandate will cost Arizonans between $239 and $626 million and from 1,500 to 4,100 jobs, with electricity prices 4 to 10 percent higher than otherwise. Odds are the economic damage is understated since costs like connecting windmills to the grid can only be guessed. Texas is spending $7 billion to connect its “Cuisinarts of the sky” (windmills kill birds by the bushel) to its grid. Beacon Hill accounts for costs associated with coal and gas backup facilities that prevent brown outs on still and cloudy days.
But there’s more to consider than just costs. Renewable technologies reduce carbon emissions, but the construction and decommissioning of renewable energy facilities produces more carbon than coal and gas facilities. The carbon advantage accrues from the production of electricity.
Recently The Economist, a publication strongly in the global warming corner, acknowledged there has been no warming for more than a decade, contrary to global warming theory. Despite what some may say, there is still a debate about the threat carbon emissions pose.
For the sake of intellectual honesty, jobs, and efficiency the ACC needs to revisit its Renewable Energy Standard and Tariff regulation.
Beacon Hill Institute: The Economic Impact of Arizona’s Renewable Energy Standard and Tariff
RealClearPolitics: The End of an Illusion
MasterResource: Texas Wind Power
The Economist: A Sensitive Matter