It’s time for an all-out national mobilization to defeat the climate crisis.

President Biden and Congress must lead the charge to defeat the climate crisis and build a thriving, just and inclusive clean energy future. Join our work to help make it happen.

Donate

It’s time for an all-out national mobilization to defeat the climate crisis.

President Biden and Congress must lead the charge to defeat the climate crisis and build a thriving, just and inclusive clean energy future. Join our work to help make it happen.

Evergreen Explains: Everything You Need to Know About a Clean Electricity Standard

And also what you need to know about what's in Senate Democrats’ budget reconciliation plan.

It’s official: A Clean Electricity Standard is in Senate Democrats’ budget reconciliation plan.

Cleaning up our power grid is essential to win the fight against the climate crisis, and a CES is the best policy to make it happen. But that’s not all. It will also create millions of new jobs, eliminate poisonous air pollution, and reduce utility bills for ratepayers across the country.

Clean and renewable electricity performance standards are already in place in 30 states. Today, 11 states have 100% CES policies in law. Momentum has been building for a similar federal policy for years. In 2019, Governor Jay Inslee released his 100% Clean Energy for America plan, which called for a 100% Clean Electricity Standard by 2035. The following year, the Biden-Sanders unity task force recommended the same goal. President Biden then embraced Inslee’s standard in his own campaign climate platform. 

In February 2021, Evergreen Action and Data for Progress released a A Roadmap for 100% Clean Electricity by 2035, detailing the policies Congress must pass to achieve 100% clean power. The report focused on how an investment-oriented CES policy can pass with a simple majority in the US Senate, through budget reconciliation. Now, Congress is poised to advance this policy in legislation this summer and deliver what could be the most consequential climate policy of the Biden era.

A CES will create millions of new jobs, eliminate poisonous air pollution, and reduce utility bills for ratepayers across the country.

How It Works: A New Investment-Based Clean Electricity Policy 

A typical Clean Electricity Standard requires utilities that generate and sell electricity to meet ambitious clean energy targets by ramping up the percentage of carbon-free power sources in their portfolio over time. President Biden has called for a CES with a target of 100% clean electricity by 2035, and an interim target of 80% clean electricity by 2030. There are myriad ways to design a budget-based CES policy that complies with reconciliation rules and can pass the US Senate with a simple majority vote. 

Specifically, the Senate Democrats’ budget framework includes a clean electricity payment program that would mimic the impact of a traditional CES on the power sector, by providing federal investments to electric utilities to incentivize robust annual growth in their use of clean energy. The program would also include financial penalties, to ensure no utilities fall behind in the transition towards an average of 80% carbon-free power nationwide by 2030. Utilities would need to use their clean electricity payments to benefit consumers, by lowering customer bills, paying for clean electricity growth, reducing emitting generation, and increasing energy efficiency. And the clean electricity payments would take into account the diversity of utilities—including those that are just getting started with clean electricity and those that are further along. It would also work for utilities in both regulated and restructured markets.

Take Action

Call your senator today to tell them you support transformational climate investments in the reconciliation bill, and they should, too.

Why It Matters: Supercharging America’s Economic Recovery & The Fight Against Climate Change

President Biden has set an ambitious goal to reduce America’s greenhouse gas pollution by at least 50% by 2030—and a federal CES, or similar budget-based policy, will be his most effective tool to get it done. The pollution reductions a CES is projected to bring to the power sector alone will get us over halfway to meeting the president’s target of cutting carbon pollution economy-wide by 50% by 2030—but that’s just the beginning. As America electrifies other sectors of the economy, like transportation, buildings, and manufacturing, clean electricity will be the backbone that allows us to eliminate even more emissions through electrification. Paired with complementary policies to electrify other sectors, transitioning to 100% clean electricity could ultimately drive a 70–80% reduction in U.S. greenhouse gas pollution.

The pollution reductions, driven by a CES-like investment program, won’t just boost America’s fight against the climate crisis—they’ll also save hundreds of thousands of lives by eliminating toxic air pollution. Right now, fossil fuel power plants are a major source of the pollution that causes asthma, emphysema, strokes, premature death, and more. Communities of color have been hit hardest by that pollution and have suffered the worst impacts—Black children are twice as likely to develop asthma as white children. A recent study found that implementing one version of CES that achieves 80% clean electricity by 2030 would save an estimated 317,000 lives and avoid more than $1 trillion in health care costs.

A CES will also power America’s clean energy economic recovery by creating millions of good-paying jobs in the clean energy economy and saving working families money on their utility bills each month. 

It’s a no-brainer. For our climate, our health, and our economy: Congress must enact a budget-based CES policy that fits with reconciliation.

There are also a number of complementary power sector investments that are necessary for a just, equitable and effective path to 100% clean electricity, as outlined in Evergreen’s A Roadmap for 100% Clean Electricity by 2035. These must be simultaneously advanced in reconciliation legislation. They include long-term and more accessible clean electricity tax incentives; funding for EPA air monitoring and for updating and enforcing Clean Air Act standards to drive targeted pollution reductions in environmental justice communities; greater support for key federal programs that reduce energy burden; forgivable hardship loans for rural electric cooperatives to retire fossil fuel power plants and build out clean electricity; Clean Energy Challenge Grants for state, tribal and local governments; and funding for deploying more distributed renewable energy, transmission and smart grid technologies. However, a CES is especially critical for the transition to 100% clean power.

A Proven, Popular, & Practical Approach

 Leadership at the state level has already demonstrated that CES policies are an effective way to propel new clean energy development, create jobs, and drive down costs for consumers. Over 30 states and territories have already implemented CES-like policies that have helped grow clean energy industries that now employ over three million Americans. Already 11 states have a CES targeting 100% clean power. A federal policy will build on this success in those states, without pre-empting their efforts, and multiply state policies’ impact.

 

We’re on the verge of launching a clean energy jobs revolution and re-establishing American leadership in the fight against climate change—all that’s left to do is send the bill to President Biden’s desk with a strong CES-like investment program intact.

The American people support a federal CES. Polling from Data for Progress has found that nearly two thirds of voters support transitioning to 100% clean electricity by 2035. And a clear majority of voters in every state in the country—including key states like West Virginia—are on board.

We know that a clean electricity payment program—a budget-based policy that mimics the impact of a CES and can pass through budget reconciliation—will be an incredibly effective tool to decarbonize the economy, eliminate deadly air pollution, and supercharge America’s clean energy economic recovery. States have proven that this approach works, President Biden and the American people support it, and Senate Democrats are prioritizing the policy in their infrastructure push. We’re on the verge of launching a clean energy jobs revolution and re-establishing American leadership in the fight against climate change—all that’s left to do is send the bill to President Biden’s desk with a strong CES-like investment program intact.

Take Action Now

Call your senator today to tell them you support transformational climate investments in the reconciliation bill, and they should, too. Go to call4climate.com to get a script, and call 202-318-1885 to reach your senator and make your voice heard.

 

Call4Climate Now