The Trump administration’s decision to rescind new energy efficiency standards for light bulbs will cost consumers at least US$12 billion per year by 2025, while increasing annual greenhouse gas emissions by 34 million tonnes and annual electricity use by 80 billion kilowatt-hours in that year, according to an analysis released this week by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.
“In its rush to deregulate, the Trump administration is hurting consumers’ pocketbooks and public health,” ACEEE states in a release. The jump in electricity use will be the equivalent of all household consumption in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
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“This additional energy waste would cause more power plant pollution, which harms the environment and contributes to health problems like asthma,” the release notes. In addition to greenhouse gases, the additional electricity demand equates to an extra 19,000 tonnes of nitrogen oxides and 23,000 tonnes of sulphur dioxide.
The regulatory rollback by the U.S. Department of Energy “would also stifle innovation, eliminating a powerful regulatory incentive for manufacturers and retailers to invest in high quality, energy-efficient LED light bulbs,” write ACEEE Executive Director Steve Nadel and Andrew deLaski, head of the organization’s Appliance Standards Awareness Project. LEDs can already be found in “nearly three billion sockets in U.S. homes,” they add, and while they cost a bit more than less efficient bulbs at the store counter, “they pay consumers back through lower electricity bills within a few months, and last 10 years or longer.”
ACEEE adds that the rollback “is most likely illegal, violating a federal law that prohibits DOE from weakening efficiency standards for products such as light bulbs, and will almost assuredly draw legal challenges.”
LED light bulbs can cause serious damage to eyes in the form of macular degeneration and glaucoma; don’t believe me, do believe the science on the subject.
I think it is foolish but this decision should not cost consumers one penny nor increase greenhouse emissions one ounce. LED bulbs will still reduce electricity usage by >80% and last >10X as long as incandescent bulbs. They therefore will save money and be the better/wiser investment, regardless of any rescission of energy efficiency standards. LEDs need neither subsidies nor regulations to compete with incandescent bulbs and are here to stay.