How Biden Wants to Promote Energy Efficiency
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- Nov 20, 2020 11:21 am GMTNov 19, 2020 10:56 pm GMT
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As the pandemic winds down and the incoming Biden administration ramps up in the coming months, utilities and their business and residential customers will have the opportunity to create new programs for increasing energy efficiency (EE). These efforts will be easier with federal support.
While having a plan and implementing it are two different things, the Biden-Harris campaign website includes a detailed section dedicated to The Biden Plan to Build a Modern, Sustainable Infrastructure and an Equitable Clean Energy Future. Let’s take a look at how the plan addresses EE specifically.
EE in Buildings
The Biden plan includes several key elements, including building a modern infrastructure, achieving a carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035, pursuing a historic investment in clean energy innovation, and making dramatic investments in EE in buildings. The latter includes completing 4 million retrofits and building 1.5 million new affordable homes.
In addition to making “the places we live, work, and learn healthier, and [reducing] electricity bills for families, businesses, and local governments,” this aspect of the plan is expected to create at least 1 million construction, engineering, and manufacturing jobs. Additionally, as we emerge from COVID-19, the incoming administration is already considering that something similar could happen again, stating that upgrading the building sector “will improve indoor air quality and indoor environmental health, thus making our building safer in the face of future pandemics.”
Investment in EE
The housing plan is based on increasing the level of federal investment in “new affordable, accessible housing construction — including homes for low-income Americans, minority communities, veterans, the elderly, and persons with disabilities.” The plan calls for these homes to be energy efficient from the start, saving families up to $500 per year.
Additionally, the plan calls for “disadvantaged communities to receive 40% of overall benefits of spending in the areas of clean energy and energy efficiency deployment.”
The Biden plan includes offering tax incentives known to generate EE. For example, according to CNBC, Biden “proposes to extend existing tax credits to encourage utilities and private power developers to build more wind and solar energy production plants…. He would also extend the $7,500 tax credit for buyers of electric cars.”
Finally, the plan includes the establishment of a “technology-neutral Energy Efficiency and Clean Electricity Standard (EECES) for utilities and grid operators.” According to Kirkland & Ellis, the standard will likely “be loosely based on the renewable portfolio standard and clean energy standard programs various states have had in place for many years.”
In a recent press release, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) welcomes Biden’s “commitment to scale up energy efficiency and confront the climate crisis.” It states, “His election offers the United States a historic opportunity to use energy efficiency to deliver the urgent and bold action needed to cut greenhouse gas emissions.” The coming weeks and months will tell what the next Congress looks like and how willing it is to pass legislation to support Biden’s EE-friendly ideas.
What do you think of Biden’s energy efficiency plans? Please share in the comments.