Bad Pennsylvania Policy Spreads to DC

In the past couple of weeks, debate in Washington has ramped up over implementing national alternative energy mandates. Senator Jeff Bingaman has included the standards in his American Clean Energy and Security Act legislation. The standards are less strict than the Pennsylvania Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards, and far less than a proposed increase in HB 80. Even a conciliatory piece of legislation – HB 2405 goes well beyond the proposed national standards. Heritage highlights the debate and estimates the cost of the new regulation.

The inconvenient truth is this: nearly half of America’s electricity is generated from coal. Natural gas and nuclear energy add about 20 percent each. Most of the rest is provided by renewable sources, primarily hydroelectric energy at 6 percent. Non-hydro renewables like wind, solar energy and biomass total only 3 percent. And this is after decades of existing generous renewable subsidies. If electricity created by wind and other renewables were cost competitive, consumers would use more of it without a federal law to force consumption. But renewable energy is not cost competitive, hence the need for government coercion to force the American people to buy it.

. . the Heritage Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis has crunched the numbers and found that at an RES would: 1) Raise electricity prices by 36 percent for households and 60 percent for industry; 2) Cut national income (GDP) by $5.2 trillion between 2012 and 2035; 3) Cut national income by $2,400 per year for a family of four; 4) Reduce employment by more than 1,000,000 jobs; and 5) Add more than $10,000 to a family of four’s share of the national debt by 2035.

Standard Year % of Electricity from Alternative Sources
PA AEPS Mandate 2021 18%
Proposed Federal Mandate 2021 to 39 15%
HB 80 Mandate 2024 33%
HB 2405 Mandate 2024 28%
Current PA Production 2007 5.7%

Businesses estimate HB 80 will increase electricity costs by $8 to $9 billion.