The Powder River Basin Resource Council is pointing to a new report as evidence that the transition to renewable energy may not be as expensive as conventional wisdom expects. The study from the Civil Society Institute suggests that cleaner energy and more efficiency measures could save the country 83-billion-dollars over the next 40 years. The study compared a “business as usual” approach to a scenario in which all of the country’s coal plants and a quarter of its nuclear plants are retired by 2050. Gillian Malone is a member of the Resource Council, and says external costs of conventional energy production – like burning coal -- don’t always show up on utility bills.
"It just seems that when you look at the health impacts and the environmental impacts of producing coal and to some extent oil and gas, it’s just a simple fact that we can’t afford to continue burning dirty fuels," Malone said.
The new report finds that carbon dioxide emissions in the United States are on track to increase 28 percent by 2050 if business continues as usual. Malone added that the cost of wind and solar power technology has dropped significantly since 2009.