The Green New Deal, a proposal to overhaul the entire economy in the name of fighting climate disaster, has driven the policy agenda for 2020 Democrats and the Democratic Party in general. These Democrats do not tell Americans exactly how much the hair-brained green scheme will cost the average American family, however. A new study from the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) and Power the Future (PTF) estimated exactly how much this proposal will cost the average American family in terms of energy in eleven key battleground states.
“At a minimum, the Green New Deal would impose large and recurring costs on American households. We conclude that among the 11 states analyzed, the GND would cost a typical household a minimum of $74,287 in the first year of implementation. Among 10 of the states, excluding Alaska at $84,584, the average household burden of the GND in its first year is $75,168. For the subsequent four years, the average annual costs per household for 10 of the 11 states is $47,755, decreasing to $40,706 for ever after. The expenses in Alaska are more than $10,000 more per year per household,” Kent Lassman and Daniel Turner reported.
The study focused on eleven states, most of which are considered pivotal “swing states” in the 2020 election: Alaska, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
These numbers only represent the increased energy costs each household would likely face in these states — they do not capture the immense burdens of the other massive changes the Green New Deal aims to implement.
Lassman and Turner focused on the GND’s “imposition of a significant set of constraints on energy generation.” The Green New Deal would shift energy consumption from various sources to the electric grid. “In 2019 Benjamin Zycher of the American Enterprise Institute analyzed the cost of electricity under the GND. His study looks at current electricity generation and estimates what it would cost to replace all non-GND compliant electricity generation—such as coal, natural gas, petroleum, and nuclear—with wind and solar power. Zycher also looks at the cost of emissions, transmission, backup power, and land for replacement capacity,” the authors explained. Zycher’s analysis was understated but useful for determining increased energy costs.
“Energy research firm Wood Mackenzie estimates that the greening of the U.S. power sector would cost approximately $35,000 per household and take 20 years. Wood Mackenzie estimate[s] a total price tag of some $4.7 trillion, including around $1.5 trillion to add 1,600 gigawatts of wind and solar capacity and $2.5 trillion of investments in 900 gigawatts of storage. Another $700 billion is estimated for new high transmission power lines to move that electricity from sun-drenched deserts and windswept plains to the urban areas where it would be used,” they explained.
In a chilling paragraph, the CEI/PTF study noted that “[m]ost provisions of the GND are so broad and open-ended that the list of potential programs necessary to implement the program is only limited by the capacity of legislators to imagine new government programs. Therefore, it is impossible to calculate the maximum cost of the GND. However, other parts of the GND are more precise, sufficiently so that an approximate minimum cost estimate is attainable.”
The study focused on additional electricity demand, costs associated with shipping and the logistics industry, new vehicles, and building retrofits. These costs represent low-end estimates for the Green New Deal’s electricity costs.
CEI and PTF chose these eleven states because they have “diverse climates, geography, economies, and populations.” Alaska, for example, is remote, sparsely populated, and cold. Iowa and Wisconsin share some characteristics with Alaska but have stronger diversity of power generation. Florida and North Carolina are economic powerhouses in a temperate-to-warm climate. New Hampshire is a small state well connected with larger economies in a cold climate. New Mexico has a small population but a large area and is situated between large states. Colorado, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania are large in terms of geography, economy, and population in a mild-to-colder climate.
This study built on a previous study finding that the Green New Deal would cost the average American family at least a quarter of a million dollars in the first five years. That study examined Alaska, Florida, New Hampshire, New Mexico, and Pennsylvania. This new study added more swing states, such as Colorado, Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, and Wisconsin.
If you do not live in any of those states, you can estimate the rough cost of the Green New Deal for your household by comparing your state with the regional characteristics of each state. If you live in California, for example, your household costs would be similar to those of Florida and Colorado in key respects. If you live in Maine, your household costs would likely be similar to those of New Hampshire.
These astronomical costs are a low-end estimate for the Green New Deal, and they illustrate the wide-ranging radical nature of the Green New Deal. A Heritage Foundation study found that taxing the rich at 100 percent would still fall trillions short of the costs for the Green New Deal and Medicare for All.
Democrats need to face tough scrutiny over this radical legislation.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.