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Can President Biden Get The Clean Energy Standard Across The Goal Line?

Renewables outpaced coal and nuclear energy in 2020. But would a federal renewable energy standard speed things along and help achieve net-zero targets?

8/2/2021 6:44:00 PM

Renewable energy sources generated more electricity than either coal or nuclear power in 2020. It’s a clear indication that the country is, literally, buying into clean energy. But is the pace fast enough to achieve net-zero by 2050? Let's take a look

Renewables outpaced coal and nuclear energy in 2020. But would a federal renewable energy standard speed things along and help achieve net-zero targets?

... [+]their 300-head of black angus cattle on the Lone Star Wind Farm on June 9, 2007, 17 miles north of Abilene, Texas. The Brandon family leases and manages the cattle ranch they have lived on for 19 years and have no issues with the 240 foot wind towers they see every day on the owner's property. The Lone Star Wind Farm, into its second phase, is spread over 40,000 acres of ranch land with 7 landowners. The 400 megawatt project, owned by Horizon Wind Energy, uses 200 Spanish-built Gamesa 2 MW turbines set on top of 250 foot towers. The ranchers are compensated by a series of easement payments for underground cable collection, access roads, tower base areas, electricity substations and deer hunting restriction credits in areas under construction. Revenue per tower can range from $5,000 to $50,000 per month per tower depending on the variable wind strengths. Abilene and central West Texas is considered a major area for wind power making Texas the largest producer of wind power in the US. The power from the wind farm is connected into TXU's nearby overhead power lines. More than 20 states have requirements that utilities use some percentage of renewable power, and talk is increasing in Washington of enacting a federal standard for utilities and eventually some kind of carbon tax to penalize the use of fossil fuels that produce global warming gases. (Photo by Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images)

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Getty ImagesRenewable energy sources generated more electricity than either coal or nuclear power in 2020. Only natural gas topped those sustainable fuels. It’s a clear indication that the country is, literally, buying into clean energy. But is the pace fast enough to achieve net-zero by 2050?

The Biden Administration wants to eradicate any uncertainty by enacting a “Clean Energy Standard” that would require electric utilities to produce a set amount of emissions-free power. Instead of having a patchwork of state laws, there would be one national standard. Power companies that hit certain milestones would be given a payment — an incentive to increase their wind and solar production. The goal is to generate 80% clean electricity by 2030 and 100% by 2035. headtopics.com

“There is incredible demand for clean energy,” says Lindsey Walter, deputy director of the climate and energy program for. “We are moving in that direction. But is it fast enough? Absolutely not. The Clean Energy Standard creates the additional demand and accelerates the pathway.” 

Walter, whose comments came during a webcast hosted byOurEnergyPolicy.orgon the Clean Energy Standard, says that producing 80% clean energy by 2030 is technically achievable. And, she adds, the data suggests that energy prices would fall by 2% as a result. But getting to 100% is a lot more difficult — an effort that will require more innovation and especially when it comes to having a

At the same time, more long-distance, high-powered transmission lines will be necessary to carry wind and solar electrons.  Read more: Forbes »

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