Hypothetical Transfer of Construction Funds From Nuclear Powerplants to Electricity Conservation and Renewable Energies

EMD-80-71: Published: Apr 4, 1980. Publicly Released: Apr 4, 1980.

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GAO was requested to determine how much electric energy might be saved or produced if the construction funds presently budgeted to complete nuclear power plants WNP-4 and WNP-5 in Washington State were used instead for investments in electricity conservation and renewable energy sources. The study was based on data developed in an earlier GAO report which were adjusted to recognize changed conditions and new information.

The total investments in conservation and renewable energy sources anticipated would cost about $2.2 billion in 1980 dollars. It was projected that between $0.5 billion and $1.1 billion of the transferred construction funds would remain unexpended after implementation of various conservation and renewable energy programs. Future developments in the region's energy posture and economic priorities would determine whether the remaining funds would be needed for additional energy investments. Although this analysis supported the conclusion that conservation and renewable energy programs are economically preferable, uncertainty exists as to how the region could ensure that sufficient conservation savings and renewable supplies would be realized in time to replace the planned contributions of WNP-4 and WNP-5.

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