Study: NC Green Energy Law Will Destroy 50,000 Jobs

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Andrew Follett Energy and Science Reporter
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North Carolina’s green energy mandate will end 50,000 mostly manufacturing jobs and cost $7 billion by the end of the decade, according to a new study by a scientist from the University of Wyoming.

The study found that the North Carolina Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), which requires 12.5 percent of the state’s power comes from green energy by 2020, will increase electricity prices by 42 percent. The rate hike will cost the state billions, and destroy 50,000 jobs, mostly in the manufacturing and services sectors.

The study was authored by Dr. Timothy Considine, an economics and energy expert at the University of Wyoming, and published by the conservative Civitas Institute. Funding for the story was provided by Natural Resource Economics, Inc.

“The fact that states have to mandate the purchase of wind and solar power in the first place is a clear indicator that they are more expensive than other sources,” Travis Fisher, an economist at the free market Institute for Energy Research who was not involved in the study, told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Previous research by the conservative John Locke Foundation found electricity rates in North Carolina have increased 2.5 times faster than the national average because of the green energy mandate. The mandate has already also cost the state’s economy $14.4 billion in income losses and 24,000 jobs annually because new wind power is much more expensive than existing coal, nuclear, or natural gas power.

“Still, it is important for policymakers to know how much these policies cost,” Fisher said. “The findings of this RPS study are consistent with our own research on the levelized cost of electricity — specifically, wind and solar power are more than double the cost of every existing traditional source of electricity, from hydropower to nuclear to coal.”

The wind and solar industry, on the other hand, claim that mandates create “green collar jobs” and diversify state energy portfolios. Wind proponents frequently cite the success of Texas’ RPS because the state now gets 10 percent of its electricity from wind.

“The levelized cost of electricity from new solar facilities is five times that of the existing nuclear fleet,” Fisher continued. “Any policy that mandates more and more of the most expensive sources of electricity is going to raise costs, and in the case of North Carolina those costs are substantial.”

When North Carolina passed its mandate in 2008, 28 other states had similar policies forcing more green energy onto the grid. But with more state legislatures in the hands of Republicans, green energy mandates are being repealed or scaled back across the country. States like Kansas, Ohio, West Virginia, Texas, Michigan, New Mexico and Colorado have repealed all or part of their RPS mandates.

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