Clean Energy Isn’t Driving Power Price Spikes

Rising utility bills are a huge concern for U.S. families – ⅓ of households had to forego basic necessities to pay energy bills last year. But new Energy Innovation research finds the biggest culprits behind rising prices include fossil fuels and the climate change impacts they cause, not clean energy. In fact, states with high levels of wind and solar generation like New Mexico, Iowa, and Oklahoma have experienced the lowest rate increases. The data is clear– clean energy is not causing electric bills to rise. Rather, the biggest factors causing bills to go up include:

  • Wildfire costs and risk driving up prices 
  • Natural gas price volatility in regions heavily dependent on the fuel
  • Utility investments in aging, uneconomic coal plants
  • Transmission and distribution costs rising faster than inflation
  • And utility business models favoring big capital expenditures

Only looking at national average electricity prices obscures real trends as well. Between 2021 and 2023, electricity prices increased faster than inflation in only 15 states, and those were states particularly vulnerable to wildfires (i.e., California), natural gas volatility (i.e., Massachusetts), or heavily dependent on coal (i.e., West Virginia). 

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