POWERING TOWARDS 100% CLEAN POWER

President Biden made a bold commitment on the campaign trail to achieve 100% clean electricity by 2035. This year, his administration has the opportunity to make significant progress toward this goal and deliver on a key campaign promise.


But to do so, it will have to lean into a whole-of-government response to taking on climate change and tackling pollution in the power sector.

HERE'S THE STRATEGY

To execute on President Biden’s clean energy commitment, the administration must pursue a bold three-pronged approach that will engage multiple federal agencies and enhance state leadership in accelerating America’s clean energy transition.

While securing legislation that includes the $555 billion in climate investments is critical to achieving our climate goals, the Biden Administration can and must also take bold executive action.

Specifically, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), and the Department of Energy (DOE) must take the lead to drive down pollution, facilitate clean energy deployment, and support states as they fulfill their own commitments to clean electricity.

EPA: Tackling Pollution in the Power Sector

The EPA must quickly advance a comprehensive regulatory strategy to tackle air and water pollution from the power sector.

FERC: Facilitating Clean Energy Deployment

FERC should pave the way for new clean energy to quickly and easily come online.

DOE: Investing to Support State Clean Energy Leadership

DOE must invest in state leadership, leveraging federal funds to help them achieve their 100% clean power goals.

Keep scrolling to take a deeper dive into each department's critical role.

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Take a Deeper Dive
EPA: TACKLING POLLUTION IN THE POWER SECTOR

The EPA must quickly move forward on their comprehensive regulatory strategy to tackle air and water pollution from the power sector.

Power plants are America’s number one industrial source of deadly air pollution—killing tens of thousands of people and making hundreds of thousands of people sick every year.

Those impacts are disproportionately felt by communities of color who are more likely to breathe polluted air than their white counterparts, even when factors like region and income are taken into account. In fact, the American Lung Association found that "people of color were 61% more likely than white people to live in a county with a failing grade for at least one pollutant" in the 2022 State of the Air report.

Currently, the U.S. gets approximately 40% of its electricity from carbon-free sources. To drive the rapid sectoral transformation that is required to reach 80% clean power by 2030 and 100% by 2035, the administration must deploy a range of policy tools, through both legislation and executive action. The Environmental Protection Agency, is uniquely positioned to play a key leadership role in reducing pollution throughout the power sector.

The EPA is planning to update a set of rules that regulate pollution in the power sector. Taken together, these rules provide an opportunity to cut enormous amounts of pollution. These rules include:

  • Strengthening Mercury and Toxic Air Pollution Standards (MATS) to reduce reduce toxic air pollution from power plants

  • Updating and strengthening the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS)

  • Finalizing the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) to limit nitrogen oxide pollution that travels across state lines

  • Tackling carbon pollution from both new and existing power plants

  • Closing loopholes during startups, shutdowns, and malfunctions; and more

Key Rules to Watch

The EPA is planning to update a series of rules that regulate power-sector pollution in the coming year. Taken together, these rules offer an enormous opportunity to tackle pollution in the power sector.

“Every year, pollution from power plants causes 8,000 fine particle and ozone-related premature deaths, tens of thousands of new asthma cases, thousands of heart attacks, and millions of lost school and workdays.”

EPA Administrator Michael Regan

Take a Deeper Dive
FERC: FACILITATING CLEAN ENERGY DEPLOYMENT

FERC should pave the way for new clean energy to quickly and easily come online.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is a critical player in enabling the transition to clean energy. FERC is an independent agency focused on providing the nation with safe, reliable, and affordable energy. They’re also charged with ensuring power markets are not “unduly discriminatory” or “preferential” to specific forms of energy.


When FERC was established, oil and coal were the main energy sources powering our country, and the market structure, permitting processes and regulations were designed with fossil fuels in mind. That means the current regulations make it far easier for fossil fuel projects to be approved than clean energy projects. The result? There are currently enough clean energy projects proposed in the US to get us to 80% clean power by 2030, but most of them are struggling to get “hooked up” to the grid.


FERC must level the playing field for clean electricity in wholesale power markets and modernize our grid to help ensure equitable access to clean energy. After all, clean electricity is cheaper for customers and will result in safer and more reliable energy in the long run - so making sure the deck isn’t stacked against it is squarely in FERC’s purview.


Take a Deeper Dive
THE DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY: INVESTING IN STATE CLEAN ENERGY LEADERSHIP WITH FEDERAL DOLLARS

DOE can support states in meeting their 100% clean power goals by helping them access federal funds to do so.

A true all-of-government approach will require states to continue leading on clean energy deployment and reducing pollution from the power sector.

The Department of Energy can help enhance state leadership by helping them access federal dollars flowing through their clean energy programs.

The $62 billion flowing to the Department of Energy as part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act provides a critical opportunity for this federal-state partnership—these dollars will fund many new and existing programs at the agency that will specifically help states achieve their clean energy and climate goals.

For instance:

  • The Loan Guarantee Program allows states to use federal loan guarantees to pay for cost-effective clean energy upgrades;

  • The Building a Better Grid Initiative helps states upgrade their grids to bring more clean power online, quickly;

  • Technical assistance from the DOE’s National Labs can help states develop and execute their plans to achieve a transition to 100% clean energy



We must power towards 100% clean power for all of us. Access to cleaner, safer, cheaper and more reliable energy is within reach for Americans.

The administration must act now.

Looking for more ways to take action? Here's how you can get involved in the transition to 100% Clean Power.










ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

In March 2022, Data for Progress conducted a survey of 1,239 likely voters nationally. They found that a majority of voters support the transition to 100% clean energy by 2035.

"We can’t just build solar plants where coal and gas plants used to be. They have to be built where it’s … sunny. And wind turbines have to be built where it’s windy. But that’s not always where the people who need the power are."