Congressional Briefing - July 11, 2008

Impacts on U.S. Energy Expenditures and Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Increasing Renewable Energy Use

wind power turbines


Michael Toman


Monday, July 11, 2008


10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.


2325 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C.

About the Program

With oil prices reaching record prices, concerns about energy security and growing worries about global warming have increased interest in expanding renewable energy in the United States.

The RAND Corporation will present the findings of a study that assessed the potential impacts on U.S. consumer energy expenditures and CO2 emissions of producing 25 percent of U.S. electric power and motor-vehicle transportation fuels from renewable resources by the year 2025.

The report concluded:

  • Increasing renewables use can reduce CO2 emissions and enhance energy security by lowering the cost of imported petroleum; however, renewable energy technologies will have to improve at the very significant pace in order to have low impacts on energy expenditures.
  • A large, inexpensive, easily converted biomass supply is necessary for significantly increased renewable-energy use to have a relatively low impact on consumer energy expenditures. Significant advances in the use of less-productive wind power locations also will be required.
  • The policies used to bring higher-cost renewable motor fuels to market will significantly affect fuel demand and society's total energy expenditures.
  • More moderate renewable energy targets – such as 15 or 20 percent – reduce expenditure impacts more than proportionately, though carbon dioxide reductions also are less significant.
  • For greatest cost-effectiveness in CO2 reduction, renewable fuels should be only part of a broader set of measures including increases in energy efficiency.

About the Speaker

Michael Toman

Michael Toman is a senior economist and director of the RAND Environment, Energy, and Economic Development Program, part of the RAND Infrastructure, Safety, and Environment Unit. Prior to joining RAND, Mike worked on sustainable energy, energy security and climate change at the Inter-American Development Bank and at Resources for the Future. From 1994-1996 Mike served as a senior staff economist for the Council of Economic Advisers, Executive Office of the President, handling energy and environmental issues for the Council. Mike is the author of numerous articles, journals, and other scholarly works. He is an adjunct faculty member at the Nitze School of International Studies, Johns Hopkins University and at the Bren School of the Environment, University of California at Santa Barbara.

RAND Office of Congressional Relations

For 60 years, RAND has provided policymakers with independent, objective research and analysis on key national security, domestic and international issues. RAND work helps members of Congress and their staffs make better-informed decisions on the nation's pressing challenges. The Office of Congressional Relations offers a number of products and services to educate, inform, and facilitate congressional policymakers' access to RAND work, including coordinating congressional testimony by RAND experts, organizing briefings and meetings, synthesizing RAND work into topical e-newsletters and providing reports and publications to congressional offices. For more information, visit the Office of Congressional Relations webpage, contact or call (703) 413-1100 x5395.

Further Inquiries

For further information about this event, contact the Office of Congressional Relations at or call (703) 413-1100 x5395.