A new study predicts that an 80% by 2035 clean energy standard, similar to the one introduced by Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., in March, could pass both chambers of Congress if it increases electricity rates by less than 5% on average.
The report, published in the scientific journal Nature Climate Change, concluded that in order for the Senate to pass such a policy, the average increase would have to amount to less than $59 per year for the average U.S. household, and for the House of Representatives to pass it, additional costs would have to be below $48 per year.
A recent report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration found that Bingaman’s proposal would not increase electricity rates in the first 10 years following its enactment, but rates would likely climb after that.
Last month, the Maine Public Utilities commission launched Maine Green Power, which gives the state’s residents the option to purchase locally produced renewable energy. California-based utility Pacific Gas and Electric Co. is also asking state regulators to approve a similar program that would let customers choose 100% renewable energy for an extra $6 a month.
(comment: Applying a clean energy standard would reduce the cost of medical expenses from allergies and asthma and other illnesses related to bad air quality. To get a picture of the air quality on a calm day, go to the mountains and look towards Knoxville or any highly populated area and view the stagnant layer of gray-green colored air hanging over it. This applies across the state. Also, eliminating the subsidies we pay to the oil and natural gas industry would more than cover the extra cost of clean air and water)