Saturday, June 21, 2014

Cutting Coal Electricity Generation: More Costly for Red States

This month under provisions of the Clean Air Act, signed by Richard Nixon in 1970, President Obama proposed new carbon limits on electricity generation. The goal of his initiative is a 30 percent reduction of carbon emissions from electricity plants by 2030, three-fourths which come from coal usage.

The latest data from the Energy Information Agency show that residential electricity customers in the 25 states generating electricity from coal pay 20 percent less per kilowatt hour than customers in the 26 states and DC that use no coal in the production of electricity.

Furthermore, 11 of the 12 highest electricity cost states use no coal in the making of electricity. Data indicate that reducing coal's share of electricity production (from a national average of 28.3 percent to 20.0 percent) by expanding the share produced by renewable energy will increase the cost of electricity by approximately 19 percent. However, this increase in cost will not be shared evenly.

Blue states, those that placed their electoral votes for the Democrat presidential candidate in each of the last four elections, paid electricity prices 43.2 percent higher than states that voted Republican in the same four elections. Not surprisingly, 16 of the nation's 19 Blue states used no coal for electricity creation, while only 5 of 22 Red states used no coal for electricity production.

Purple states, those that split their electoral votes between Democrat and Republican presidential candidates, paid 23.3 percent more for electricity production than Red states, and 5 of the 10 Purple states use no coal in the generation of electricity.

Thus in addition to environmental and health concerns, the new policy interjects potential political issues into the President's announced policy.

High electricity price state with high coal usage (not were your want to be): Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Mexico.

Low electricity price state with low coal usage (this is were you want to be): Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oregon, South Dakota, Washington.

High electricity price with low coal usage: California, Connecticut,DC, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, Wisconsin.

Low electricity price with high coal usage: Arkansas, Kansas, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Ohio, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia,

Ernie Goss

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