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Green power to cost jobs, jack up bills, critics say

For every policy, a study.

Advocates of clean electricity have been saying for years how much the state would gain economically if Progress Energy and Duke Energy were forced to shift from coal-burning power plants and nuclear power to solar, wind, biomass and energy conservation programs.

Now free-market advocates are making the opposite claim. Promoting renewable energy and energy efficiency will cost this state nearly 3,600 jobs and raise electricity rates by $1.8 billion, according to a study issued last week by the Beacon Hill Institute in Boston and with the John Locke Foundation in Raleigh.

"Many parties have voiced concerns that requiring a certain level of renewable energy generation would have too great an impact on electric rates, as renewable generation costs more than conventional generation," the report states. "By mandating the sale of renewable sources of electricity, the state is essentially compelling the sale and use of more expensive electricity at higher prices relative to conventional energy."

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