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The Verge: After Build Back Better, here’s how the US can still clean up its power grid

Posted by Justine Calma on Dec 21, 2021

The Verge outlined how Congress can clean up the power grid, citing AEE's Leah Rubin Shen on popular provisions of the Build Back Better Act. Read snippets below and the full article here.

The future of America’s electricity grid hangs in the balance as Democrats try to salvage their giant environmental and social spending bill. After West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin imperiled Democrats’ Build Back Better bill — which would have transformed the grid and helped stave off catastrophic climate change — environmental advocates are figuring out a plan B.The most recent version of Democrats’ environment and social spending bill included $555 billion to tackle climate change, which would have been the biggest US investment ever on the crisis...

Between now and then, the bill might go through another ruthless round of trimming. After months of political wrangling, the cost of the spending package fell from $6 trillion to roughly $1.75 trillion. More recently, the tussle has been around a child tax credit that’s folded into the bill, The Washington Post reports. But some experts think the bill’s core climate provision — $320 billion in tax incentives for clean energy technologies — could emerge unscathed. The tax incentives were designed to be palatable to fossil fuel-heavy states because they offer carrots instead of sticks.

“Rhetoric aside, I do think that the clean energy and climate positions in the bill seem to be some of the most popular,” says Leah Rubin Shen, federal policy director at Advanced Energy Economy, an association of clean energy businesses. “There may be opposition to bits and pieces of things around the margins. But the core of it, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of opposition from the caucus.”... 

Still, Biden has already made some significant moves through executive powers. The EPA issued tougher fuel efficiency standards yesterday that could prevent 3.1 billion tons of CO2 emissions from heating up the planet through 2050. And earlier this month, Biden signed an executive order setting the federal government on a path toward net-zero emissions from its operations by 2050.

“That may seem sort of a small ball, but the federal government is actually a huge consumer of everything,” Rubin Shen says. That includes purchasing goods and services and using a lot of energy. So whatever the federal government does to clean up its own act could have ripple effects across the rest of the economy.

Read the full article here.

Topics: AEE In The News, Leah Rubin Shen