Study: Renewable energy could up New England rates 20%

(The Center Square) – A new study shows power demand in New England has experienced an 11.4% drop from 2008 to 2020 but could cost ratepayers billions of dollars to incorporate zero-emissions electricity.

The Fiscal Alliance Foundation said the new study illustrates how New England residents pay 20% more for each kilowatt hour of electricity delivered to homes across the region.

Lisa Linowes, who authored the report, had previously testified before Congress regarding federal tax policy relative to renewable energy, the impacts of offshore wind development, and said rate increases would continue.

“Ratepayers in New England are repeatedly told emission-free electricity will lower costs and benefit the environment,” Linowes said in a statement. “In fact, under the current energy policies, New Englanders will continue to see rate increases that will fund the industrialization of the region’s rich natural areas both on- and offshore.”

Paul D. Craney, the spokesperson for the Fiscal Alliance Foundation, said that Massachusetts would not be economically competitive as long as energy prices remain high.

“The focus must go back to the price for the ratepayer instead of picking winners and losers in the energy market,” Craney said in a statement. “For the average ratepayer, they feel like their taxes are going up while they are earning less. We are seeing energy consumption decrease, while prices are increasing along with layer after layer of arbitrary mandates for more renewables.”

Craney said the annual cost of renewable energy policies in Massachusetts has quadrupled over the past decade.

“Our region’s renewable energy mandates are some of the most complex and costly in the entire country,” he said in a statement. “We now have 26 separate programs across the six states, with nine in Massachusetts. As these separate programs continue to grow, so does the cost for ratepayers.”

According to the release, the report illustrates that the cost to ratepayers has risen with the expansion of renewable energy and climate policy requirements, suggesting alternative energies lowering and stabilizing rates have yet to be realized.

Of the 26 programs in New England, according to the study, each one addresses different technologies and varying annual compliance requirements and associated costs. Companies selling electricity across the region must satisfy the mandates in each state where their commodity is sold.

While Massachusetts’ cost for renewable energy over the past decade has quadrupled from $250 million in 2011 to $1 billion just three years ago, in addition, fees to ratepayers in the Bay State in 2020 saw an average of $1 billion billed for Renewable Portfolio Standards policies. The study illustrates that between 2 cents and 3 cents per kilowatt hour of electricity was consumed, costing ratepayers $191 each year.

Meanwhile, the study shows that the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative has cost ratepayers $3.8 billion in higher prices from 2008 to 2020, according to a release. Of that, 53% of funds were raised for energy efficiency programs.

The study illustrates, according to a release, that the region’s climate policies for zero-emission energy will require “substantially more ratepayer support” and “more land and ocean development” for wind, solar, and transmission infrastructure.

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