The Biden-Harris administration and the Democratic majority in Congress have an important backer in their quest to achieve an ambitious climate agenda: corporate America and its increasing hunger for carbon-free energy. On January 25, a notable subset of the largest U.S. corporations signed on to a statement from the Renewable Energy Buyers Association (REBA), laying out the top federal policy priorities that will help them meet their own aggressive decarbonization goals. To learn more, read “What the Biggest Corporate Energy Buyers Want from Federal Clean Energy Policy.”
- Many of the signatories have already pledged to zero out their carbon footprints in the next decade or two, whether internally or across their supply chains. They’ve also been procuring and bankrolling clean energy at gigawatt scale.
- The first federal policy priority is to improve the workings of the country’s wholesale energy market and expand similar markets to the rest of the country.
- The second priority is to “harmonize and update” the largely state-by-state policy patchwork that governs clean energy procurement and sets values on the decarbonization potential of different technologies and investments.
- The third priority centers on moving federal clean energy research and development to commercial application.
- December 2020’s omnibus federal spending and coronavirus relief bill contains billions of dollars for these types of commercialization efforts, from core energy technologies to applications in manufacturing and construction.
Path to 100% Perspective:
U.S. corporations have been stepping up their commitment to lower or eliminate their carbon footprints for the last several years. Yet, they cannot pave the path to 100% alone. Federal support for clean energy has been significantly reduced in recent years, with federal energy initiatives primarily focused on the fossil fuel sector. The federal government can clear the way to a 100% renewable energy future by harmonizing state decarbonization policies, optimizing and expanding the renewable energy infrastructure, and investing in clean energy technology research and commercialization. Given the scale and depth of its energy market, the U.S. has the economic and technological potential to scale up renewable energy at an unprecedented rate.
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