WHAT THEY’RE SAYING: As Democrats $3.5T Budget Resolution Advances, Momentum Growing for Biden’s Clean Electricity Standard

With the Senate expected to advance a $3.5 trillion budget in the coming days, all eyes on Capitol Hill are turning to see exactly how President Biden and Congressional Democrats will deliver on their ambitious Build Back Better agenda. 

Last month, Democratic lawmakers confirmed that an investment policy designed to achieve the goals of President Biden’s proposed 100% by 2035 Clean Electricity Standard (CES) was included in their $3.5 trillion reconciliation package. Since then, momentum has been building to pass this signature climate policy as more details have emerged about how the policy is taking shape to fit within budget reconciliation requirements, support from the American people for the transition to 100% clean electricity, and how that transition will save tens of thousands of lives and create millions of good paying jobs.

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Vox: One policy that could challenge a century of fossil-fuel dominance

A clean electricity standard is a bit of a misnomer because the actual policy being discussed is even more boring-sounding: a clean electricity payment program that pays utilities to clean up their act and fine them for missing deadlines. Still, this approach could effectively double the amount of wind and solar on the market, moving the nation toward roughly 80 percent renewable sources of electricity by 2030, and within reach of 100 percent clean electricity by 2035. It’s critical to getting the US halfway to Biden’s pledge under the Paris climate agreement. 

E&E: Everything we know about Biden's mysterious CES

The goal of the CEPP is to boost clean electricity sales and, by extension, drive down emissions. Reaching 80% clean electricity sales in 2030 would cut power sector carbon emissions by 86% of 2005 levels, according to Jenkins and Leah Stokes, a professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, who has helped craft the CEPP. That would provide more than half the overall emissions reductions the U.S. needs in order to cut greenhouse gas levels 50% of 2005 levels by 2030. “The policy is not designed to 'cut emissions' — like other CES/RPS policies it is designed to increase clean power,” Stokes wrote in an email. “CEPP will usher in the largest investment and build-out of renewables seen to date and will catalyze the reduction in emissions throughout the power sector.” 

The Hill (opinion): Senate's proposed clean energy standard is a major win for health 

One of the most important proposals being considered is a clean electricity payment program that would provide federal investments to our nation’s electric utilities to incentivize robust growth in their use of clean energy like wind, solar and battery storage. This “clean electricity standard” would result in a power system that runs on 80 percent clean energy by 2030, and it would meaningfully improve air quality, while significantly reducing planet-warming emissions that are fueling drought and wildfires. Multiple studies, one of which one of our organizations helped lead, have also found a rapid transition to clean power can be achieved without raising customer bills, and would create hundreds of thousands of jobs in every part of the country, a major boost for the economy.

Axios: Exclusive: New polling shows support for Biden clean energy goals 

A majority of Americans say they are in favor of transitioning to 100% clean energy by 2035, regardless of whether they're living in a blue or red state, according to new polling provided first to Axios. Why it matters: The polling, presented in the form of a national map broken down by states and congressional districts, shows how popular the idea of the clean energy transition can be. It could serve as a warning sign for lawmakers opposing clean energy provisions in the infrastructure bills under negotiation on Capitol Hill.

The Hill (opinion): Clean electricity standard should be a no brainer amid extreme climate impacts 

So, to recap: The clean electricity standard has broad public support, creates millions of jobs, saves trillions on energy costs, is supported by leading businesses — and by the way is a major key to preserving a livable climate — while helping prevent the 7 million deaths a year caused by air pollution. So, how hasn’t this happened yet?