By Mintimer Avila |Online Editor|
The more we save, the more money we have to pay.
The transition to renewable energy and natural gas, along with the shutdown of coal-fired plants and reduction in nuclear power could lead to drastic price increases, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The price of electricity may rise as much as 47 percent over the next 16 years, as the U.S. becomes more reliant on renewable energies like solar and wind power, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“We are now in an era of rising electricity prices. If you take enough supply out of the system, the price is going to increase,” said Philip Moeller, a member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Much of the U.S. has already seen a price increase as a result of a winter that left 60 million people in the cold, due to supplies of coal freezing over, technical difficulties and utility operators struggling to find enough natural gas to keep plants running.
“I wouldn’t take too seriously the projected 47 percent increase in electric prices reported by the alleged study which I couldn’t find any info about. The people writing the study might have a political agenda,” said CSUSB Economy Professor Eric Nilsson.
Residents in Pennsylvania, however, have seen their bills rise to as much as $1,000 due to the winter and the fragility of the electrical grid.
A drought has also been responsible for affecting prices in the west and even California has seen residential electricity prices increase 30 percent between 2006 and 2012, according to data by the Energy Department.
It can be argued, however, that these changes to the electrical system will be beneficial in the long run.
“Climate change is happening, and any attempt to slow it down will require higher prices for energy. Yes, people don’t like to pay higher prices, but they also don’t like the idea of climate change. Policies can be designed to help poor and middle-income people who will pay higher energy prices. One simple way is to tax carbon and then use the tax revenue to provide tax cuts for people who face higher energy prices,” said Nilsson.
Coal produces 44 percent of the electricity in the U.S. and is the single biggest cause of air pollution, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists.
They add that climate change, soot, acid rain and toxic air emissions are caused by burning coal.
Coal and nuclear plants that are still in operation are being taxed heavily and are forced to comply with regulations at great cost.
Thirty states have mandates for renewable energy that must be met at the end of their deadline.
California currently has one of the highest mandates and must have 33 percent of its energy renewable by the year 2020.
This means that more solar and wind energy will be required.
According to the Institute of Energy Research, California is currently not on track to meet that target.
New emission rules on acid gases, mercury and other toxins will soon go into effect next year and are expected to place a dent on the nation’s coal-generated power.
Coal has been the largest and cheapest source of power since it was first mined in 1748 but with two dozen coal generating units across the U.S scheduled to be decommissioned, an estimate output of 60 nuclear reactors of energy will be removed from the grid, according to the Energy Department.
Moeller believes that these rapid changes leave the systems unable to handle unexpected problems such as the storm in Pennsylvania and could potentially result in blackouts in some regions as early as next year.
In the attempt to provide clean and renewable energy, the cost of electricity has gone up and may continue to climb until the year 2030.