President elect Joe Biden wants to eliminate carbon pollution from the power sector and reach net-zero emissions by mid-century.
There are forces, some beyond the president’s control, that have already tipped the energy transition in the US. Cheap natural gas, vast deployment of wind and solar power, and state-level climate and clean energy policies have together nudged coal into a downward spiral. It is expected that the energy policy under a Biden administration would accelerate the decline of thermal coal.
Joe Biden’s Climate Plan
President elect Biden’s proposal is to push that shift with a $2 trillion climate plan, it is the centerpiece of a pledge to achieve carbon-free electricity by 2035.
The demand for wind and solar power would present a challenge and an opportunity for domestic supply chains. At the end of 2019, 38% of the nation’s electricity generation was from wind, solar, nuclear and other carbon-free sources of power, according to the US Energy Information Administration.
Biden’s climate plan would call on Congress to pass legislation in the first year of his presidency that would establish an “enforcement mechanism” to achieve the 2050 net-zero emissions target, invest $400 billion over ten years in energy research and innovation, and provide funding as an incentive for clean energy deployment. A Biden administration would use the federal procurement system to transition government fleets to zero-emission vehicles and facilities to run on 100% clean energy.
His plan calls for the establishment of a way to reduce the carbon footprint of the US building stock by 50% by 2035. In order to fulfill that goal, his teams are calling for four million buildings to be upgraded and two million homes to be retrofitted over four years.
Biden Plan Intends to Save Americans Money
Biden’s team is confident that a shift to clean energy will save Americans money. It is now often cheaper to install new solar power than to operate existing coal or natural gas-fired power plants. Cheap carbon-free power makes it more affordable to operate homes on 100% renewable electricity, says Rewiring America.
President-Elect Biden has spent a lot of time talking about the threat posed by climate change and his intent to leave the Earth in a better position to defend itself against climate-change deniers and the destruction of its environment. As a result, renewable energy—and specifically the solar industry—will once again take their rightful places at the center of the discussion of energy production in this country. As the United States moves ever closer to reducing its carbon footprint, the shift away from fossil fuels to solar and other renewable energy sources will become ever more important.
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