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AMERICA'S ECONOMY WOULD PROFIT
FROM RENEWABLE ENERGY

America could reap $80 billion in new, local investment by adopting a national renewable energy standard of 20% of electricity supply generation by 2020 (called a renewable portfolio standard -- RPS), according to an analysis recently released by the Union of Concerned Scientists. This new capital investment would bring income and jobs to the country’s rural economies.

Today, the United States relies heavily on coal, nuclear power and natural gas to generate its electricity. Renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, geothermal and bioenergy currently provide a negligible amount of the nation’s electricity.

"America has abundant renewable energy resources that are cleaner, safer and more secure than fossil fuels or nuclear power," said Deborah Donovan, UCS senior analyst. "Diversifying our electricity supplies with renewable energy will help states across the country create homegrown energy that will boost local economic development."

UCS’ analysis also found that America’s consumers would save a total of $4.5 billion on their energy bills from 2002 to 2020 from a 20% renewable energy standard. In a letter to Senators this week, two leading consumer advocate groups, Consumers Union and Consumer Federation of America, asked America’s Senators to consider a 20% renewable energy standard as an integral part of any energy legislation.

Among the economic benefits of a 20% standard for the U.S. economy are:

Nearly $80 billion in new capital investment

Nearly $5 billion in new property tax revenues for local communities

$1.2 billion in lease payments to farmers, ranchers and rural landowners from wind power more than double our use of homegrown bioenergy fuels, providing billions in income for farmers

Legislation to establish a 20% renewable energy standard is under consideration in the U.S. Senate as part of S. 1333, introduced by Senator James Jeffords (I-VT). While Senator Daschle (D-SD) and Senator Bingaman (D-NM) have proposed a bill that includes a 10% standard, the new economic development would be cut almost in half.

Written by: Union of Concerned Scientists


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