A Plan for Powering the West
Advocates for renewable energy and better energy efficiency have made a real case for adding more clean energy sources to the power plant mix. Others, however, have raised concerns that investing in more renewables and efficiency measures is too expensive and jeopardizes our economy. A Balanced Plan for the Interior West was meant to help settle this issue. The Balanced Energy Plan remains a guiding document for Western Resource Advocates (WRA) as we work throughout the region to turn the plan’s recommendations into policy.
Our report systematically examines the costs, environmental benefits, and reduced risks associated with increasing the amount of clean power in the West. Looking at the entire power grid for the region, WRA has run analyses that directly compare a business-as-usual approach with a clean-power alternative. The business-as-usual scenario assumes that we will continue to invest heavily in traditional fossil fuel power plants. The balanced energy scenario assumes we add a set of clean energy options balancing the goals of maintaining reasonable electricity costs, managing risk, and protecting the environment.
Using the same PROSYM model employed by the power industry, we found that the Balanced Energy Plan would save the region a minimum of $2 billion per year by 2020 while significantly reducing pollution and protecting our economy against the risks of relying too heavily on just a few fossil fuels.
In reading the Balanced Energy Plan, you will see that, in addition to the environmental benefits of clean power, there are very real economic reasons why getting more power from clean sources makes sense and that the West cannot afford to continue with business as usual when it comes to energy.