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U.S. Senate Plans To Penalize Utilities That Miss Climate Targets

As the Biden Administration carries on at least in spirit with its green energy agenda, U.S. Senate Democrats are looking to penalize energy utilities that fail to meet clean energy targets.

The plan would also “reward” utilities that do meet them.

“The clean energy standard” plan that is currently being considered would require that 80% of all electricity be carbon-free by 2030, such as electricity derived from solar, hydropower, or wind power, and is part of the $3.5 billion budget blueprint.

Such a tall order would require a massive shift to how the nation does power. So much so that the measure has failed to garner Republican support. For this reason, the measure is being included as part of the budget blueprint.

The plan would assign specific clean-energy targets to electric utilities in the United States, along with penalties for underperformers and incentives—such as grants—for overachievers.

“CES is the cornerstone of the progressive, practical transformation to a clean energy future we urgently need,” Senator Tina Smith tweeted on Wednesday.

Of course, the clean electricity standard—along with the overall budget bill—is hardly a done deal.

But the grants could go a long way toward offsetting some of the costs that utilities have spent in moving away from coal to get in line with environmental regulations that have yet to recover the costs.

Putting the clean energy “mandates” that are incentive based into the budget bill would allow Democrats to get the plan approved without Republican support or threat of a filibuster.

Some lawmakers argue that the clean energy mandate goes beyond the scope of the money and fees rules, and therefore should not be allowed to proceed without Republican support. But Democrats insist that the money utilities would get or the fees they would be assessed comfortably fit within the money and fees rules.

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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