The High Cost of Mandates, Wind, and Energy

The Center for Energy Policy and the Environment at the Manhattan Institute has released a study of state-level “renewable portfolio standards (RPS)” across the country.  It probably won’t surprise Rhode Islanders to learn that Rhode Island has among the highest energy rates in the country and that wind, its central focus for answering RPS demands is among the most expensive forms of energy.

As the following table from the study shows, Rhode Island has the seventh highest cost for retail electricity in the United States:

Table 1. States with the Least Expensive - and Most Expensive - Electricity

Note, too, that while the list of the ten least expensive states for energy, only two have RPS, the same is true of eight of the ten most expensive.

Additional tables in the PDF version of the report show that RI’s area of renewable energy focus is among the most expensive energy options, especially offshore wind.  Using 2009 data, report author Robert Bryce finds that the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) per megawatt hour can be more than six times for wind what it is for natural gas fired plants.

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