Pennsylvania Renewable Mandate Crushing State Economy

Published December 19, 2012

Pennsylvania’s renewable energy mandate will likely cost the state $2 billion per year during the next eight years, the Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University reports in a newly published economic analysis. Despite the high cost, the renewable energy mandate will provide few if any environmental benefits, the study concluded.

According to the study, the average household power bill will rise by 12 percent above baseline prices and will hurt lower-income households the hardest. The higher cost of energy will also kill thousands of jobs.

“With unemployment still above 8 percent and vast resources of coal and natural gas, Pennsylvania is harming its citizens with its unnecessary alternative energy mandate,” said Beacon Hill Institute director of research Paul Bachman in a press release accompanying the study. 

“Besides the obvious costs, the forced use of so-called renewable sources will have no detectable effect on the environment, and thus no real benefit, Bachman noted.

A major reason why the renewable power mandate will provide few if any environmental benefits is the need for conventional power to back up intermittent renewable power. 

“Renewable energy sources such as wind and solar require fossil fuel backup power to accommodate variations in the availability of wind and sun. For example, a recent study by Colorado-based Bentek Energy LLC found that wind power actually increases pollution because when fossil-fueled generators must be turned off and on to compensate for wind fluctuation, they pollute more than they would if they just ran continually,” explained the press release.

According to the study, between the years 2013 and 2021 the Pennsylvania renewable energy mandate will:

• cost state residents $16.3 billion;

• kill approximately 17,380 jobs;

• reduce disposable income by $1.66 billion; and

• deter $205 million in economic investment.