The Hidden Costs of Electricity

This is the fourth report commissioned by the Civil Society Institute in an effort to advance a realistic and sustainable energy policy for the U.S. electricity sector. CSI, with the expertise of
Synapse Energy Economics, seeks to examine and make accessible to policy makers and the public the shortcomings of the prevailing, business-as-usual approach advanced by both political parties. We do not have the financial resources, the water and air resources or the time to waste in our national search for practical and actionable steps toward a safe and sustainable energy future.

By summarizing and comparing the full costs (beyond those included in utility bills) of all the major power generation resources, we hope to highlight the costs of the “business as usual” energy path in terms of human health and the safety and integrity of our environment. The findings, thus far, are conclusive: there are no technological or economic barriers to a sustainable electric grid based primarily on efficiency, renewable and distributed resources.

Political will is the sole barrier to realizing the economic, public health and environmental benefits of a sustainable energy policy. The public, as demonstrated by over 28 national and state public opinion surveys commissioned by CSI since 2004 (as well as surveys by numerous others), has consistently logged its readiness and support for accelerating energy efficiency and the deployment of clean, renewable energy sources.

The Hidden Cost Of Electricity