Western RTO Economic Impact study

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Western RTO Economic Impact Study: Region-wide Analysis

This report for Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) by independent consulting firm Energy Strategies finds that establishing a broad, West-wide organized electricity market known as a Regional Transmission Organization (RTO) would create as many as 657,000 permanent, high-paying jobs in the West.

The analysis also found that a Western RTO would diversify state economies and save ratepayers millions of dollars per year in energy costs.

An RTO is a cooperation agreement which allows electric utilities across multiple states to share resources and leverage the cheapest, cleanest, and most efficient energy sources through an organized regional market. Currently, the West is one of the only regions in the U.S. without an RTO managing its power grid. The 11 states studied in the report were Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

The analysis found all 11 states could expect economic benefits from a West-wide RTO, driven by lower electricity prices for households and businesses, additional clean energy development across the region, and the expansion of existing, as well as attraction of new, businesses to the West.

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Compared to the status quo, a Western RTO would by 2030: 

Bring up to 657,000 new permanent, high-paying jobs to the West

Would also create up to 13,700 temporary construction jobs in 2030 from the development of additional clean energy resources.

Add up to 4,400 Megawatts of additional clean energy to the Western grid

This brings local benefits, such as billions in economic development, jobs, tax revenue, and cleaner air.

Save Western states $2 billion in annual energy cost savings

Would also raise annual gross state revenue across the West by up to $79 billion per year.