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NTU Creates Map Showing the Economic Damage of Renewable Energy Standard

April 15, 2010
By Pete Sepp

Dear Senator:

     Today – Tax Day – Americans are reminded of the economic difficulties of 2009. Though there are some signs of recovery, they can't help but worry about what's in store for 2010.

      It is important to remember that new burdens – whether taken out of our paychecks as taxes or disguised as hikes to our monthly electricity bills – hurt the economy even more and hinder our ability to bounce back from the financial crisis. If energy costs continue to rise, American families will be forced to cut back even more severely and businesses will be forced to eliminate jobs.

      The National Taxpayers Union (NTU) is dedicated to working on behalf of taxpayers, and we are very concerned about the effects of the flawed climate legislation under consideration in Congress. In particular, the proposed federal renewable energy standard (RES) will raise prices for consumers, the equivalent of a damaging tax hike on Americans who continue to struggle to make ends meet.

     The United States is primarily powered by traditional energy sources like coal, natural gas, and nuclear fuel. These energy sources are far more abundant domestically and cheaper than "renewable" sources like wind and solar power, which also happen to be recipients of lavish taxpayer subsidies. But, the federal RES will force states to purchase these renewable sources or renewable energy credits, whether or not they can afford them or have access to them. Consequently, the increased cost of electricity will be passed on to the taxpayer.

     NTU created a map that calculates the severity of the economic damage to each state as a result of the proposed federal RES. To determine the severity, we looked at the state's unemployment rate as of February 2010, the net electricity generation by coal, the projected increase in electricity bills by 2030 as a result of the bill, the projected loss of jobs by 2030 as a result of the bill, and how much of the state's electricity generation meets Congress's definition of "renewable."

     The findings show clearly that a federal RES will pick winner and loser states – and unfortunately, there are vastly more losers than winners. States suffering the highest unemployment rates tend to rely heavily on traditional energy sources like coal and natural gas. When you factor in the increased costs that will result from the federal mandate, these states will suffer even more.

     As you can see, a federal renewable energy standard will cost nearly all Americans and threatens to derail economic recovery. For these reasons, NTU opposes this dangerous mandate. We urge you not to support any energy bill that includes a federal RES. Thank you for your continued work to keep America competitive.


Pete Sepp
Executive Vice President

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 energy damage

energy damage chart