Environment News Service


January 28, 1999

The United States could increase the share of electricity generated from renewable sources (wind, solar, plants and geothermal) to about 10 times current levels over the next 20 years, and still see a 13 percent decrease in electricity prices, according to a new study by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). Expanding renewable electricity use to these levels would freeze power plant emissions of carbon dioxide, the primary cause of global warming, at about year 2000 levels, making a major contribution to meeting the U.S. reduction targets under the Kyoto global warming treaty. With the nation moving to rewrite rules for the way electricity is produced and sold, Congress introduced six electricity deregulation bills in 1998 that would ensure continued growth of renewable electricity generation. The UCS report, "A Powerful Opportunity: Making Renewable Electricity the Standard," is an examination of the costs and benefits of these federal proposals. The report highlights a comparison between a strong proposal by Senator James Jeffords, a Vermont Republican, which would increase renewables to 20 percent of electricity generation by 2020, and a weaker proposal by the Clinton administration, which would result in a share of 5.5 percent by 2010.

Environment News Service (ENS) 1999. All Rights Reserved.