Several research studies have shown that renewable energy could wind up saving consumers tens of billions of dollars. Two of them found that $26.7 billion a year could be saved.
One is called, “The Potential Rate Effects of Wind Energy and Transmission in the Midwest ISO Region.” This study report says about 100 GW of wind power could be online by 2031 in the Midwest. It also says this region of the country has effectively inexhaustible wind resources available.”The Net Benefits of Increased Wind Power in PJM” is the second. An NREL study, “THE WESTERN WIND AND SOLAR INTEGRATION STUDY PHASE 2:,” found that in the Rocky Mountain states renewable energy could save almost $7 billion a year.
These studies may not fully factor in the costs of retiring existing power plants and upgrading infrastructure to allow new clean energy sources to function well with current grid systems. Their main point is that over time, — especially with dropping clean energy prices — there will likely be financial benefits to consumers.
As the World Resources Institute notes, “The trend is clear: The United States is moving towards cleaner power generation, with renewable energy at the forefront. EPA’s new regulations will help accelerate this transition, continue the reduction in U.S. carbon emissions, and offer customers hundreds of dollars in savings annually compared to the cost of continuing to run the current power plant fleet.”
Iowa alone could generate about 50% of its electricity from wind by 2018. Wind power there helps save Iowans over 3.5 billion gallons of water each year, according to a 2013 report. It also eliminates thousands of tons of smog-causing pollutants.
Environment Iowa published a personal scenario from a local businessman, “As a farmer, I depend on a clean and safe water supply every day for my crops and my animals. Severe droughts like that of the last couple years can be devastating for farmers like me that depend on water for our livelihoods. Developing wind energy is important to protect our air, water, and our farming communities that are so much a part of our way of life in Iowa,” said Russ Winterhoff, a farmer from Aurelia, Iowa who was the first in Iowa to build two wind turbines on his land to power his turkey farm.”
So, there is no question that clean energy already has benefits for consumers. Eventually, it is likely they will also save money on their energy bills.
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