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Jun 242009
 

We’ve been told that the switch to green energy will cost us a lot or a little, depending on who’s putting out the information.

Now, the Natural Resources Defense Council is telling us that switching to clean energy, as supported in the pending American Clean Energy and Security Act in Congress, would save us money on our electricity bills — at least by 2020.

It does make intuitive sense. Green, local(ish) energy harvested directly from the wind, solar and geothermal powers already in abundant supply in various U.S. locations – minus expensive wars to nail down rights to the world’s last drops of oil – should come at a fair price, at some point.

The NRDC’s model projects “modest” savings per household over “business-as-usual” — ranging from a few states where there’s no savings predicted up to savings of $8 or even $11 a month, with the average being $5.99 a month. (See the map above — click to view it larger.)

We’re sure this is a respectable analysis. Still, we have to say, who really knows? There are so many variables. Who will control these new energy sources? What will their front end costs be, and how much will they want to extract from consumers? Will we build sensible new buildings to help keep costs in line (efficient buildings can help ease peak demand; net zero buildings can even feed the grid)? Will the population projections (which the NRDC used for this model) remain stable? How hot will it get out there?

What if there are missteps? Remember the frenzy over biofuel from corn?

We do appreciate that the NRDC has stepped in with what appears to be a rational assessment of where we might end up in 2020, cost-wise, especially with others trumpeting less analytical assessments, stoking fears about the costs of change.

The NRDC’s view is simpatico with the EPA’s, which projects American will save some seven percent on household energy costs by 2020.

The bottomline: We hope so.