National Renewable Electricity Standard Would Create Jobs, Save Consumers Billions, Cut Millions of Tons of Pollution; New UCS Report Documents Economic Benefits for California

For Immediate Release

San Francisco, CA– A national renewable electricity standard requiring utilities to increase their use of wind, solar and other renewable energy sources would generate 16,000 news jobs in California, lower electric and natural gas bills, and slash global warming pollution, according to a new Union of Concerned Scientists analysis released today by Environment California. UCS examined the impact of a proposed national standard on the nation as a whole and on 20 states, including California.

“Turning on renewables in California would cut energy costs not only for individual families, but for small businesses and large energy users like produce packers and manufacturers too,” said Environment California Federal Field Organizer Moira Chapin. “At the same time, increasing our use of renewable energy would help clean up air pollution and make a down payment in the fight against global warming.”

The U.S. House of Representatives may vote on renewable electricity standard legislation as early as next week. The Senate has passed a standard three times over the last five years, only to be thwarted by House inaction. The House bill (HR 969), sponsored by Reps. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Todd Platts (R-Pa.), would require that utilities increase their use of renewable energy to 20 percent by 2020.

For California, UCS’s analysis found that a 20 percent national renewable electricity standard would:

    generate an annual average of more than 16,000 total renewable energy jobs by 2020 in manufacturing, construction and other industries.

    be a financial boon of $1.41 billion cumulatively for farmers, ranchers and rural landowners who produce biomass energy and/or lease their land to wind developers.

    save California residents $1.85 billion on energy bills cumulatively through 2020 by reducing demand for fossil fuels and lowering natural gas and electricity prices. By 2030 those cumulative savings would balloon to $3.82 billion.

Nationally, UCS’s analysis found that a 20 percent national renewable electricity standard would:

    generate an annual average of more than 185,000 total renewable energy jobs nationally by 2020 in manufacturing, construction and other industries.

    be a financial boon of $25.6 billion cumulatively for farmers, ranchers and rural landowners who produce biomass energy and/or lease their land to wind developers.

    save consumers $10.5 billion on energy bills cumulatively through 2020 by reducing demand for fossil fuels and lowering natural gas and electricity prices. By 2030 those cumulative savings would balloon to $31.8 billion.

    slash global warming pollution by 223 million metric tons a year, the equivalent of taking 36.4 million cars off the road.

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Environment California is a leading nonprofit, nonpartisan environmental advocacy organization with program and community outreach offices in more than ten locations across the state. Our staff of researchers, lawyers, advocates, and organizers work to protect California’s air, water, open spaces and communities safe and clean for all to enjoy.  For more information go to www.environmentcalifornia.org.
The Union of Concerned Scientists is the leading science-based nonprofit organization working for a healthy environment and a safer world. Founded in 1969, UCS is headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and has offices in Berkeley, California, and Washington, D.C. For more information, go to www.ucsusa.org.