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There are multiple ways to accelerate decarbonization

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West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin is doing his best to thwart climate policy and save the state’s dying fossil fuel industry, but the proposed “clean power program” policy design decarbonizes. There is no reason to believe that it is the only way to accelerate. The problem for many utilities is the cost of capital for infrastructure for decarbonization. Infrastructure and Build Back Better invoices still include funding for that. More funding may be provided to help modernize power companies. Some utilities either believe that decarbonization is not needed or are controlled by climate change denials. If you don’t want to take advantage of renewable energy subsidies, you can get the first greenhouse gas savings from a decarbonized state. My view is not shared by most climate policy advocates who consider a clean electricity program essential. New York Times Reporter Coral Davenport calls the clean electricity section of the bill “the most powerful part of President Biden’s climate agenda.” She observes it:


“The $ 150 billion clean electricity program was the muscle behind Mr. Biden’s ambitious climate agenda. It’s from the burning of fossil fuels. Renewable energy source Penalties will be imposed on those who do not. Experts say the policy over the next decade will significantly reduce the greenhouse gases that heat the planet and make it the most powerful climate change policy the United States has ever enacted. “

I don’t think the professionals Coral Davenport relies on are completely right. The $ 60 billion infrastructure bill for grid modernization is at least as important as a clean power program. I support the clean power program rewards for decarbonizing utilities, but I’m not particularly obsessed with the penalties imposed on those who don’t. Power companies pass on the cost of fines to consumers, so they only have to raise the price of energy. Taxing energy is one of the most regressive forms of taxation possible. In addition, it is another area of ​​the iconic Red States, the Blue States battle that climate policy should work hard to avoid. The idea represented by the bill is that the state needs to be dragged into the world of renewable energy. There is also something like West Virginia. Although resisting decarbonization, many people like New York and California are doing everything they can to stay away from fossil fuels. This is the moment when some states are actively moving for decarbonization and others are moving in the opposite direction. According to US Parliamentarians:

“Renewable energy policies will help drive the domestic market for wind, solar and other renewable energy sources by $ 64 billion. These policies will diversify the energy mix, promote economic development and emissions. US renewable energy power generation since the early 2000s may be due to state renewable energy requirements … Iowa has RPS It was the first state to be established [Renewable Portfolio Standards]Since then, more than half of the states have set renewable energy targets. Thirty states, Washington DC, and two regions have active renewable or clean energy requirements, and three states and one region have voluntary renewable energy goals. The RPS method has seen two conflicting trends in recent years. On the one hand, many states with RPS goals are expanding or updating those goals. Since 2018, 15 states, two regions, and Washington, DC have passed legislation to expand or expand their renewable or clean energy goals. On the other hand, seven states and one region have expired RPS targets. Four additional states have RPS targets that will expire in 2021. ”

Power companies are private monopolies regulated by the state government. Punishing states that are uncertain or opposed to decarbonization is a lost political strategy and bad environmental policy. It’s a bad policy because it doesn’t work. Penalties do not force utilities to reduce their use of fossil fuels. These penalties come from the same economists and policy analysts who believe that only carbon taxes lead to decarbonization. In fact, Congress and some of the Biden administration have instead deployed the movement with political futileness for the end of the Clean Power Program. In my view, subsidies and other policy tools need to be used to keep the price of renewable energy below the price of fossil fuels. Energy costs are already too high for many families, and policies to raise energy prices are bad politics. Policies to reduce energy costs are good politics. The Biden administration should focus its attention and resources on states that are enthusiastic about decarbonization. It enables us to build more elastic and low cost renewable energy systems. Modern energy systems attract businesses and residents. States that continue to rely on old and fragile energy systems and polluted fuels will lose their competitive advantage over states with modern systems. Including carbon recovery and storage in the mix, even Senator Manchin will find ways to support programs that modernize our energy system, but in the states of interest, the system will also be decarbonized. I recognize that fossil fuel companies will continue to fight subsidies for renewable energy, but reliable, low-cost energy will attract more political support than high-cost energy. There is no difference.

The idea that price penalties accelerate decarbonization is an economic theory that has not been tested by political reality. Given that the policy has been enacted, how many states and their utility regulators are suing the federal government to prevent penalties from being enforced? The answer is that all states will be punished. And how long does the court take to determine the constitutionality of the penalties? The answer is longer than the people who designed this policy think. If this is someone’s idea of ​​a policy that accelerates decarbonization, they should look at America’s actual political system, not the theoretical or imaginary policy process.

American utilities are not known to be agile change agents or aggressive risk takers. They are slow to invest, slow to change, and tightly regulated by the state government. Changing the way electricity is generated and transmitted is neither easy nor quick. While it is feasible and needs to be implemented, advocates who see the clean power program as a central and most important element of US climate policy have significantly underestimated the complexity of the task.

I was delighted to read Davenport’s report that the government is looking for alternative ways to reduce greenhouse gases. There are options. As important as the grid, solar and battery technology can evolve to reduce reliance on the grid for many homeowners and at some point disconnect the cord and disconnect it from the grid. ..It happened on a landline Cable tvWho says it doesn’t happen with energy? Government R & D policies may focus resources on solar and battery technologies, and tax policies will invest privately to scale these technologies if they prove promising. May stimulate. National green banks can provide resources to state and local governments, non-governmental governments and businesses that need capital to promote renewable energy. Energy efficiency in home appliances, vehicles, homes and factories will also reduce greenhouse gases and improve renewable energy technology. On the utility side of the equation, in the early stages of decarbonization, the negative state should be ignored and the focus should be on the state enthusiastic about modernizing the energy system. It would be better to do this nationwide, but perfection should not be allowed to be a good enemy.

Sadly, we’ve seen this movie before. When Obamacare was launched, many states refused to accept federal subsidies available to expand Medicaid. As a result, some states have a higher proportion of the poor with health insurance than others. Similar non-uniform start is expected for decarbonization. Many predictions about the impact of clean power programs make assumptions about utilities and individual actions that may not be accurate. If you read the particularly thorough forecasts by Megan Mahajan and Robbie Orvis of Energy Innovation Policy and Technology LLC, energy future. Their work is particularly rigorous and very useful, but not all factors can be assessed. It is not possible to model the political variables highlighted in this article and the expected reaction to the penalty clause of the clean power program and it is excluded from the analysis. However, keep in mind that their predictions are largely based on the implementation of the penalty clause. Mahajan and Orbis conclude the forecast by saying:

“EPS modeling suggests that infrastructure bills can reduce at least 1,500 MMT in 2030. Combined with potential state and regulatory measures, the United States can achieve an NDC of 50-52% emission reductions. Our modeling will further increase emission reductions. Enforced CEPP, including penalties, is the most important factor in achieving these emission reduction levels by 2030. (Add emphasis)

It’s clear what they call the “important element” of Americans Climate policy It is unlikely that you will survive the final Build Back Better bill. But it’s okay. There is no policy silver bullet to accelerate the transition to a renewable resource-based economy. It will be a long and painful slog through the mud. We need to prepare for a generation of migration. The strategy is to work on multiple sides in a wide variety of areas. policy instrument. What works in California may not work in West Virginia, and we need to develop a flexible and practical approach to decarbonization. There are multiple ways to accelerate decarbonization, and you should use all the tools that the toolbox can hold.


Report: Solar could power 40% of US electricity by 2035


This story has been republished in courtesy of Columbia University’s Institute for Earth Research. http://blogs.ei.columbia.edu..

Quote: Https: //phys.org/news/2021-10-decarbonization.html Obtained on October 19, 2021 There are multiple ways to accelerate decarbonization (2021, October 19).

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There are multiple ways to accelerate decarbonization

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