The blame game is common in politics, media and many other arenas, and just one common “blame game” today, is that renewables such as wind farms and solar are the cause of rising electric costs in the United States.
There are lots of articles out there alleging this in a number of countries around the world, such as one written for Forbes.com by president of the think tank Environmental Progress, Michael Shellenburger, summing up one as “If solar and wind are so cheap, why are they making electricity so expensive?”
Similar headlines have been found in the UK, with its economic affairs committing noting that the average domestic electricity bill was 58% higher in 2016 as compared to 13 years prior – the report states that “To reduce carbon emissions, governments have subsidized renewables and then passed the cost to consumers in electric bills,” inferring renewables are to blame.
Countering the Claim that Renewables are the Cause of Higher Electric Costs
The Australia Institute countered this claim with a study aiming to prove that renewables are not the cause of the skyrocketing utility bill increases. Instead, Australian National University energy economics expert Hugh Saddler says the culprit is the shortage of natural gas and its high prices. While consumers may not see a relation being gas and renewables, gas is a backup source of energy, used to set the market price for electricity, something that’s also true within the U.S. as well. As gas prices are to two three times their historical level, the wholesale price of electricity rises too.
The U.S. Relies on Outdated Electrical Grid/Infrastructure
When most people think about infrastructure they think about failing bridges, the Erie Canal, and so on, but it also applies to electrical grids which are outdated in many areas. In the majority of the U.S., this electric transmission infrastructure dates back to the 1960s and ‘70s and hasn’t been updated since. Without reliable power grids, cost-effective, reliable power suffers, contributing to rising electricity costs and even has implications to national security, with threat of foreign cyberattacks. At the same time, repairing and upgrading these grids also contributes to rising prices.
How Businesses Can Reduce Energy Bills
The question most business owners are asking is not who or what is to blame, but how they can reduce their high energy bills. Utility tracking software can help store information about utility vendors, accounts and utility bills so that business owners, CFOs and accountants are able to compare relative efficiency of various sites, forecast and budget utility costs, monitor the results of energy savings, find billing errors and more, helping to reduce the high cost of energy bills.