Wednesday, December 5, 2012

National Electricity Prices Are Down Slightly, Defying Claims That Renewable Energy Boom Would Spike Power Prices

Critics of renewable energy have been saying for a long time that the renewable energy boom would cause power prices to rise sharply.  So far the critics are not as accurate as a broken clock that is right twice a day.

Indeed, renewable energy has boomed, with wind leading the way, more than doubling capacity between 2008 and 2012.  Billions of dollars of private investment this year will build close to 15,000 megawatts of new renewable energy generation capacity in just this year.

But the huge new investment in renewable energy is not creating an electricity price spike.  It has instead generated billions of kilowatt-hours of new electricity supply.  And all that new supply has actually put downward pressure on power prices, and substantially so, in some state and regional markets.

Moreover, the massive boom in renewable energy capacity has often crashed the price of renewable energy credits in markets that states have established to price them and that too creates more savings for consumers.

In September 2012, the average national electricity price was 9.93, slightly down from 9.97 in September 2011.  Of course, many factors impact the price of electricity from the costs of storm repairs, to the price of coal, uranium, oil, and natural gas, the cost of capital, electricity demand, and the amount of new electricity generation capacity or supply.  Renewable energy is but one factor among many, and right now a factor pushing prices down.

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