White House supports 2030 milestone on path to zero net


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The White House hopes to capitalize on growing support from U.S. utilities, labor unions, and green groups for a national clean energy mandate by supporting efforts to force the U.S. grid to get 80% of its electricity from non-grid sources. emissions by 2030, according to a senior official. administration official.

A 2030 target would be an important step on the path to achieving President Joe Biden’s stated ambition of net zero carbon emissions in the grid by 2035. It could also pass without Republican backing through a process called budget reconciliation.

“Our aim is to enact this into law,” Deputy White House climate adviser Ali Zaidi told Reuters, speaking of the administration’s pressure for a so-called clean energy standard (CES ) to decarbonise the electricity sector.

The latter would require emission reductions by adopting renewable energies like wind and solar, using nuclear power, or finding ways to suck up and sequester greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel power plants. .

“There are several avenues to achieve significant progress in the energy sector,” Zaidi said. “We think this is a very powerful solution for giving utilities a clear and clean planning horizon.”

Requiring utilities to move away from coal and natural gas is a cornerstone of US President Joe Biden’s plan to halve greenhouse gas emissions in the US economy over the next decade.

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Many utilities already have plans to remove carbon from their systems due to pressure from investors or state mandates, so they largely support the policy. They are concerned https://www.reuters.com/business/sustainable-business/us-utilities-want-protection-bidens-tight-timeline-clean-energy-mandate-2021-04-14, however, that advances technologies needed to achieve zero emissions may not materialize in time to meet the 2035 deadline.

In a statement, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association said the administration’s 2035 target was “too ambitious.”

This month, however, 13 major utilities sent a letter to Biden supporting an electricity sector target that would reduce emissions by 80% from 2005 levels by 2030.

The country’s grid is currently only 40% clean, but reaching 80% by 2030 can be achieved with existing technologies at no additional cost to taxpayers in each region, as the cost of renewables and batteries has fallen so much. , according to a new analysis. https://energyinnovation.org/publication/2030-report-powering-americas-clean-economy by researchers from Energy Innovation and the University of California at Berkeley. (find out more https://energyinnovation.org/publication/a-national-clean-electricity-standard-to-benefit-all-americans)

The policy has the support of members of both parties in Congress, although Republicans have not embraced the administration’s aggressive timetable over fears it will drive up costs and cut jobs in the fuel industries. fossils.

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Democrats could pass a simple-majority ESC as a review of budget law if the ESC sets a 2030 target, as reconciliation measures must fall within a 10-year window.

The Senate is currently split 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans, but Democrats are in control because Vice President Kamala Harris can break a tie. Legislation outside of the reconciliation process would need 60 votes to bypass a possible Republican procedural move known as filibuster.

The White House is evaluating various legislative options and speaking to lawmakers from both parties. (Reporting by Nichola Groom and Valerie Volcovici; Editing by David Gregorio and Kenneth Maxwell)

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