The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), part of the Department of Energy, says it “collects, analyzes, and disseminates independent and impartial energy information to promote sound policymaking, efficient markets, and public understanding of energy and its interaction with the economy and the environment.”
In a new report (see here) EIA examines the proposed federal Clean Energy Standard (CES) program. CES requires electrical generation utilities to produce an increasing percentage of electricity from so-called clean sources such as hydroelectric, solar, and wind. The stated rationale for this program is to reduce dread carbon dioxide emissions to forestall global warming.
Under CES, carbon dioxide emissions are projected to be 60% less than the reference case by 2035. EIA projects the cost of electricity to rise 16% by 2025 and 29% by 2035 as a result of the program. EIA projects the average household will spend $211 more per year for electricity.
EIA also projects that the cost of natural gas will rise 9.3% by 2025 and level off to an increase of 5.4% by 2035. Non-electrical natural gas expenditures will increase 10% by 2035.
The impact of CES will vary regionally. Those areas more dependent on fossil fuel generated electricity will experience higher electricity costs than those areas which have more nuclear and hydroelectric generation.
Real GDP will be reduced, reaching a peak reduction of 0.8% in 2024, but converging to a 0.3% reduction by 2035. EIA also says that CES will negatively affect non-farm employment from 2015 through the mid 2020s.
The EIA does not speculate upon the effect of CES in reducing global warming. But I can. In my post Your Carbon Footprint doesn’t Matter , I estimate that if all U.S. carbon dioxide emissions were suddenly stopped, it could reduce global warming by 0.003°C. If CES reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 60% (and ignoring burning of fossil fuels for transportation), the program has the theoretical possibility of reducing global warming by something like 0.001 C or less. Will we notice the difference for all the dollars spent?