Published on May 21st, 2012 | by Joshua S Hill
Americans More Willing to Pay for National Clean Energy Standard
Over the past few years, U.S. Democrats and Republicans have proposed mandating clean power generation in the electricity sector, and according to a study conducted by Yale and Harvard researchers, the average U.S. citizen is willing to pay 13 percent more for a National Clean Energy Standard (NCES).
The researchers conducted a nationally representative survey that found the average U.S. citizen was willing to pay US$162 per year in higher electricity bills, representing a 13 percent increase, if that meant a NCES that requires 80 percent clean energy by 2035.
Unsurprisingly, support for a NCES is lower amongst Republicans, but also amongst non-whites and older individuals.
Matthew Kotchen, a co-author of the study and associate professor of environmental economics and policy at Yale, said many observers believe that a national clean-energy standard as the only politically feasible alternative to a national energy-climate policy given the diminished prospect for passage of a national cap-and-trade program to control greenhouse-gas emissions and the relatively weak provisions of the EPA’s proposed carbon pollution standard.
“Our aim in this research was to investigate how politically feasible an NCES really is from both an economics and political science perspective,” he said.
The survey included 1,010 U.S. citizens and was conducted between April 23 and May 12. Respondents were asked whether they would support or oppose an NCES with a goal of 80 percent clean energy by 2035. Respondents were provided with randomised descriptions of just what the NCES would look like, with only three definitions for clean energy; renewables only, renewables and natural gas, and renewables and nuclear. They were also provided with randomised estimates of how much the NCES would increase annual household electricity bills.