George Mason University released a renewable energy study recently surveying the economic impact of expanded clean energy power sources in Virginia.
The Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University studied Virginia’s 2010 Energy Plan which created a roadmap for energy consumption in the state over the next 25 years. The Center’s study concluded that solar, biomass and wind power in the state could support 50 percent of Virginia’s energy demands through 2035 while simultaneously creating tens of thousands of jobs in the renewables industry.
George Mason prepared the study on the behalf of a group of environmental groups and supporters known as the Virginia’s Conservation Network, a network that supports renewable energy in the state.
“This [report] is important for regulators and utilities that must plan today for a safe, reliable electricity system 20 and 30 years into the future,” said Nathan Lott, executive director of the Conservation Network.
But there is a downside to the sunny outlook for renewables, the study added. For renewable energy sources to get up to speed over the next few years, ratepayers would be subject to increased costs. Construction costs, presented under two separate scenarios by the study, for renewables would likely be between $5.94 and $9.48 billion.
Conversely, to expand fossil fuel production to meet demand over the next 25 years, Virginia would be looking at coal construction costs around $2.39 billion, with natural gas at $1.13 billion.