Consumers Set To Get Crushed As Energy Utilities Migrate To Solar, Wind
American energy providers are planning to invest hundreds of billions of dollars in green energy, even as such projects lead to skyrocketing costs for consumers.
Energy companies are projected to spend $140 billion in both 2022 and 2023, upgrading grid infrastructure, building renewable energy projects, and preparing for electric-vehicle-fueled demand, the Edison Electric Institute told The Wall Street Journal, marking the largest yearly totals since the industry group began tracking the figure more than two decades ago. [bold, links added]
Overall, energy bills are expected to increase by up to 3% on an annual basis, according to the research firm Sector & Sovereign Research, the WSJ reported.
Energy bills have stayed relatively flat over the last several decades, Bureau of Labor Statistics data showed.
“You’re forcing more and more demand for electricity because the environmentalists want everything to be electric,” Dan Kish, a senior fellow at the Institute for Energy Research, told the Daily Caller News Foundation in an interview. “Yet, the sources you’re allowing to be used to make the electricity are getting more expensive.”
Kish noted government data showing that residential customers’ energy bills increased 4.3% in 2021, the largest annual increase since 2008.
National Grid — a major energy supplier in New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island — became the latest company to unveil extensive plans for “achieving a net-zero future” on Tuesday, promising to boost investments in wind, solar, hydropower, and renewable natural gas.
The California-based Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), the largest energy utility in the U.S. has issued its own net-zero plan that includes support for policies that will lead to nationwide carbon neutrality by 2050 or sooner.
“We have a critical responsibility to lead the clean energy transition for our customers and communities,” John Pettigrew, the CEO of National Grid, said in a statement.
However, the transition to renewables will lead to higher costs for utilities, which will then be passed onto consumers in the form of price hikes, the WSJ reported.
Pedro Pizarro, the CEO of California utility company Edison International, said recent natural gas prices have surged and energy costs will remain elevated in the future as providers build out renewable infrastructure and electricity demand skyrockets.
“We’re obviously very focused on trying to manage electric costs as much as we can, but let’s also recognize that there will be more pressure on electric costs,” Pizarro told the WSJ.
California consumers’ energy bills have dwarfed those of consumers in other states in 2021 and are projected to continue increasing. The state has implemented some of the most aggressive climate plans in the country.
‘Horrific, truly horrific’
President Joe Biden has laid out plans to cut U.S. emissions by 50% by 2030 and achieve a 100% carbon-free electricity grid by 2035. His administration has also worked to limit new oil and gas drilling on federal lands and waters.
Similar to Biden, the U.K. and Europe have issued ambitious climate plans, but, unlike the U.S., have made significant progress on expanding their renewable energy systems.
“The reason why gas prices have gone up so significantly — they’re about 10 times higher than they are in the U.S. — is because most European countries have phased out coal, have phased down nuclear, and have gone almost exclusively to renewable energy,” Benny Peiser, the director of the U.K.-based Global Warming Policy Foundation, told the DCNF.
Millions of British households are expected to see energy bills increase by $1,000 per year, CNBC reported.
The projected utility price increases will lead to a doubling of U.K. households in “fuel poverty” while the poorest British residents will be forced to spend 10% of their budget on energy.
“The situation has changed significantly for the worse,” Simon Rossi, the CEO of U.K. utility company EDF, recently said, according to Reuters.
Another British utility executive, Keith Anderson of Scottish Power, said price increases could be “horrific, truly horrific” by October.
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