Now that President Joe Biden has assumed office, he can get to work on his pledge to move the nation to 100 percent clean energy. During the campaign, Biden advocated a 100 percent clean energy standard pegged to 2035. This builds on state-level renewable portfolio standards, which spurred tremendous growth in renewables by mandating that utilities buy or purchase a certain amount of clean power by certain deadlines. Biden wants to apply the concept nationally while front-loading investment in clean energy and technology to bring down costs. To learn more, read “Can Biden Get a 100% Clean Energy Bill Through Congress?”
- Biden’s 2035 clean energy timeline is more ambitious than those of states that have passed their own clean energy targets: Hawaii, California, and others chose 2045 deadlines. Nearly all major electric utilities have pledged to go carbon-neutral or zero out emissions by 2045 or 2050.
- Transforming the nation’s electricity system in 15 years will require an unprecedented ramp-up of renewable construction and grid infrastructure investment, and likely some reliance on unproven emerging technologies.
- Some climate policy advocates believe a clean energy standard could materialize through budget reconciliation. The most straightforward way to do this would be to create a clean energy credit trading system.
- Alternatively, Congress could use reconciliation to set emissions targets or award block grants to states if they pass their own clean energy standard in line with federal guidance.
- In the waning days of 2020, Congress pulled out a surprise bipartisan energy policy win, passing a spending and stimulus bill that extends clean energy tax credits and earmarked billions of dollars for advanced energy technology research.
Path to 100% Perspective:
The path to 100% may not look the same for every organization or government. A mix of policy, technology, and innovation will be required to achieve a 100% renewable energy system. Policy alignment between the states and federal government will help to accelerate decarbonization efforts and decrease confusion for utilities and citizens trying to decipher renewable energy solutions and the timelines attached to each goal.
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