Map: States Which Support Green Energy Have Higher Electric Bills

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Andrew Follett Energy and Science Reporter
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States which offered substantial taxpayer support for green energy pay a lot more for electricity, according to a Daily Caller News Foundation analysis.

The most notable examples of this trend were California and West Virginia. California had some of the nation’s highest power prices, paying 14.3 cents per kilowatt-hour, and had a whopping 183 policies offering support to green energy. In contrast, West Virginia had some of the nation’s cheapest power at 7.91 cents per kilowatt-hour and a mere 11 policies.

Statistical analysis run by TheDCNF found a positive and statistically significant correlation existed between high electricity bills and states with numerous policies supporting green energy. States which offered rebates, buy-back programs, tax exemptions and direct cash subsidies to green energy were 64 percent more likely to have higher than average electric bills. For every additional pro-green energy policy in a state, the average price of electricity rose by about .01 cents per kilowatt-hour.

TheDCNF analyzed data from the Energy Information Administration and Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency and aggregated average annual power prices from the U.S. Energy Information Administration in 2013, the last full year of data, then displayed the data on the maps below.

Source: Energy Information Administration Data Mapped By DCNF

Source: Energy Information Administration Data Mapped By TheDCNF

TheDCNF found the priciest power in America’s lower 48 was in New England, especially in Connecticut and New York which paid 15.7 and 15.4 cents per kilowatt-hour respectively.

Washington state and Wyoming had America’s cheapest electricity, paying 7.1 and 7.55 cents per kilowatt-hour respectively. States with access to easily developed hydropower resources, like Washington, tended to have fairly inexpensive power even if they had numerous pro-green energy policies.

Source: Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency, Mapped By DCNF

Source: Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency, Mapped By TheDCNF

California and Minnesota had 183 and 141 policies and incentives which offered assistance to green energy. New York, another major state with pricey power, had 92 policies. In general, the nation’s cheapest power was found in states which didn’t financially support green energy. States in New England are also subject to a voluntary cap-and-trade program which offers substantial financial support to wind and solar power, but only counts as one policy.

The subsidy cash isn’t just coming from the state governments, as all solar power receives a 30 percent tax credit from the federal government, which subsidizes solar power 326 times more than it subsidizes coal, oil and natural gas.

Most analysts agree rising residential electricity prices are also harmful to American households. Pricey power disproportionately hurts poorer families and other lower-income groups as the poor tend to spend a higher proportion of their incomes on “basic needs” like power, so any increase in prices hits them the hardest.

As essential goods like electricity becomes more expensive, the cost of producing goods and services that use electricity increases, effectively raising the price of almost everything. The higher prices are ultimately paid for by consumers, not industries.

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