PSC: Clean energy naysayers have it wrong

Posted on March 15, 2010. Filed under: Climate change, Economic development, Energy Policy |

From a letter to the Wisconsin legislature from Public Service Commission (PSC) Chair Eric Callisto:

Yesterday [March 12, 2010], several interest groups wrote legislators urging opposition to the Clean Energy Jobs Act. The groups warned that the cost of renewable energy standards and enhanced energy efficiency programs would be “enormous” and the benefits only “nominal.” Once again, the clean energy naysayers have it wrong. Enhanced renewable portfolio standards and increasing our efforts in energy efficiency reduce our dependence on imported energy, keep more of our energy dollars here at home, and help to ensure that Wisconsin and our country is competitive in the global energy economy.

You should know that the memo from clean energy opponents includes some key factual errors.

In particular, it claims that enhanced energy efficiency programs will add $700 million in new costs for consumers, citing a report by the Energy Center of Wisconsin (ECW). In reality, we will save money on our energy bills the IOOre we do on energy efficiency. It is common sense — the less energy we consume, the less we pay on our utility bills.

As for the ECW report, what it actually concludes is that Wisconsin consumers will save $900 million per year in energy costs if we invest between $350 and $400 million in energy efficiency programs; and if we invest roughly $700 million in energy efficiency. Wisconsin consumers will save $2 billion per year in energy costs. . . . Incidentally, ECW also found that enhancing our energy efficiency programs would support between 7000 and 9000 new jobs. The
bottom line is that if we don’t invest in energy efficiency, we will be spending significantly more on new generation.

The memo also claims that meeting a 25 percent renewable portfolio standard will add more than $15 billion in extra costs for consumers. Increasing our renewable energy portfolio can reduce Wisconsin energy costs in the long run, particularly when implemented alongside enhanced energy efficiency programs – as the Clean Energy Jobs Act envisions. The enclosed, recent Public Service Commission analysis, confirms that.


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