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A national renewable electricity standard, a key piece of the clean-energy legislation currently before Congress, would save households and businesses in every state billions of dollars in electricity and natural gas bills. A renewable energy standard would require a certain portion of the nation’s electricity to come from clean, renewable sources such as wind, solar, and geothermal.
The map below shows the cumulative savings from residential electricity and natural gas use per household under a renewable electricity standard from 2010-2030 in the lower 48 states. It also shows the cumulative savings for all residential, industrial, and commercial electricity and natural gas usage.
(Note: Data from Alaska and Hawaii is unavailable).
The numbers come from the Union of Concerned Scientists, who earlier this year analyzed a renewable electricity standard that would aim to have 25 percent of our electricity come from renewable sources by 2025. They found that this standard would save families and businesses $95 billion in electricity and natural gas bills through 2030 and spur new investments and hundreds of thousands of new clean-energy jobs.
The savings are in 2006 dollars and are discounted each year at 7 percent (after inflation), the standard for assessing future costs and benefits by the Office of Management and Budget. Variation comes from the state’s current blend of electricity sources and the trajectory of various types of electricity prices under a phased-in renewable electricity standard.
These savings arise because an increase in renewable energy usage eases demand for coal and fossil fuels, increases competition, and reduces the whole system’s susceptibility to price shocks.
While in many cases the savings per household may seem modest, the bottom line is clear: a bold, renewable electricity standard would save families and businesses money, encourage investment in clean energy, create jobs, and help to stave off catastrophic climate change.
What’s more, the bolder the set of renewable energy targets is, the better the result for families, businesses, and the planet. As Marchant Wentworth of the Union of Concerned Scientists explained, a less ambitious target would mean “less money in people’s pockets, fewer jobs, and a continued dependence on dirty fuels.”
Download this memo (pdf)
For more information, see:
- Video: What is a renewable electricity standard?
- Column: A Renewable Energy Standard: The Proof Is in the States
 Union of Concerned Scientists, “Clean Power, Green Jobs: A National Renewable Electricity Standard Will Boost the Economy and Protect the Environment,” available at http://www.ucsusa.org/assets/documents/clean_energy/Clean-Power-Green-Jobs-25-RES.pdf
 Office of the Management and Budget, “Guidelines and Discount Rates for Benefit-Cost Analysis of Federal Programs” (October 1992), available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/circulars/a094/a094.html
 Union of Concerned Scientists, “Energy Dept. Analysis Concludes a Strong National Renewables Electricity Standard Is Achievable and Affordable” (April 2009), available at http://www.ucsusa.org/news/press_release/eia-analysis-shows-res-is-doable-affordable-0230.html