Federal clean energy standard ‘one of the best ways’ to reach decarbonization goals, report says


Seven studies on achieving a high level of renewables show that a federal clean energy standard “is one of the best ways to achieve deep decarbonization of the power sector,” says a report from Energy Innovation, a policy advisory firm.

A federal clean energy standard of 80% by 2030 is the focus of current federal policy discussions, said the report’s author Dan Esposito. He wrote that tax credit extensions alone, while helpful, “would fall short” of deep decarbonization goals.

The studies included in the overview report by Energy Innovation included research from Harvard University, the Union of Concerned Scientists, and Resources for the Future.

The technology-neutral policies considered in the seven studies would achieve 80-90% clean energy by 2030-2035. That would be accomplished by deploying 50-100 GW of U.S. solar and wind power, plus 9-23 GW of battery storage, per year. Other technologies were not found to be economical.

Electricity in the high-renewables scenarios would cost roughly the same as it does today. Meanwhile, health and climate benefits would be worth hundreds of billions of dollars over the next 10 years.

All seven studies were completed since March 2020, and reflected recent cost declines for solar, wind and storage, “which are largely responsible for the models finding that such a goal is achievable at minimal cost—a conclusion not reached by older studies,” the Energy Innovation report said.

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