Mandates Have Small Price Impact, CBO Says

A Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report concludes that federal mandates on clean energy would likely bring a small rise in the price of electricity, while decreasing carbon-dioxide emissions as they change the fuel mix used for power generation in the United States.

The CBO report, entitled “The Effects of Renewable or Clean Electricity Standards,” studied the impact of a renewable energy standards (RES) that would replace fossil fuel-generated power with renewable sources, as well as broader clean energy standards (CES) that would include renewable sources in addition to nuclear, natural gas and carbon capture and storage.

The CBO anticipates wind generated power will be a major contributor to clean energy standards

image via Shutterstock

While the study concluded that an RES or a CES would raise the price of generating energy in this country, it also noted that the increase would likely be no more than 5 percent from 2020 to 2030. These costs would vary depending on region and the precise formulation of the standard, and would actually decline in at least one case.

The study noted that if these standards were enacted, most of the nation’s renewable power generation would come from wind generation in the West and Central United States. Biomass generation in the Southeast would also account for a large amount of power generation, the report said.

Finally, the study concluded that RES or CES legislation would reduce CO2 emissions in the United States, “compared with an amount that would occur in the absence of the policy.”

Currently, only 10 percent of the U.S. energy supply is obtained from renewable sources.

Steve Duda lives in West Seattle, WA with three dogs and a lot of outdoor gear. A part-time fly fishing fishing guide and full-time writer, Steve’s work has appeared in Rolling Stone, Seattle Weekly, American Angler, Fly Fish Journal, The Drake, Democracy Now! and many others.