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$3.5 trillion economic plan's politics heat up and the utility sector anxiously awaits movement

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Christopher Neely's picture
Independent Local News Organization

Journalist for nearly a decade with keen interest in local energy policies for cities and national efforts to facilitate a renewable revolution. 

  • Member since 2017
  • 737 items added with 363,666 views
  • Oct 11, 2021

The $3.5 trillion economic plan remains the hottest conversation in U.S. domestic politics as President Joseph Biden's marquee policy proposal edges closer to its fate. Whether that fate is a narrow passage or a narrow defeat remains to be seen. The bill still remains unpassed in the Democrat-run House and some serious politicking is happening in the Senate where only a few votes need persuading, even if those votes are far from a definitive yes. 

As the bill works itself out, hanging on their seats are the energy and utility sectors, who, if passed, will have significant responsibilities thrust upon them through one of the bill's focal climate and energy proposals: the Clean Energy Performance Program. The proposal will look to essentially overhaul the energy sector in America to an industry and is what many see as a crucial swing at addressing the increasing climate crisis. 

The most immediate goal of the plan is to push the energy sector to reach at least 80% clean energy output by 2030. The main avenue toward this goal will be the requirement of the utility sector to expand its clean electricity output by at least 4% each year in order to qualify for grants and federal government subsidies.

The incentive program will be an important tool but penalties may be the strongest tool available. According to the program, those who fall short of the goal will be charged a penalty of $40 per MWh that they fall short in reaching the 4% expansion requirement. On the flip side, the program would invest $150 billion over the next decade to payout awards for meeting the goals, to the tune of $150 per MWh that power supplies increase their clean energy production. 

Biden and the federal government will need strict programs in order to meet Biden's 100% clean electricity by 2035 plan. However, time is running out in being able to implement programs to address the climate crisis, so while legislators play politics, we hurtle deeper into crisis. Whether these programs, in the end, will deliver us from a climate catastrophe is debatable, but doing nothing is unequivocally worse. 


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