Adding renewable-energy capacity to the electric grid raises the expenses of fossil fuel-powered plants, but those expenses are outweighed by the savings from decreased use of fossil fuels, according to a study from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. In a 2020 projection assuming renewables were boosted to a third of the electricity in the grid in 13 Western states, costs linked to renewable-energy integration were placed at $35 million to $175 million annually, but savings from reduced fossil fuel use amounted to $7 billion. "Adding wind and solar to the grid greatly reduces the amount of fossil fuel -- and associated emissions -- that would have been burned to provide power," said NREL project manager Debra Lew.

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