Biden Administration Considers New Clean Energy Plan

Biden Administration Considers New Clean Energy Plan

The White House is considering new clean energy strategies for President Biden's budget package to potentially replace measures blocked by coal-state Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia. The administration is considering an expansion of grants and loans for agricultural and industrial businesses to help them transition to cleaner energy, home improvement tax credits for installing renewable energy sources, and increasing the production of electric cars.

Why this Matters

President Biden hopes to at least agree on a framework and potentially win passage of his roughly $1.9 trillion package before COP26 next week and add more climate deliverables to the country's diplomatic satchel. Biden's climate change strategy initially included the Clean Electricity Performance Program (CEPP), a measure that would reward electrical providers for switching to clean energy and punish those that do not. In the face of Senator Manchin's opposition to the CEPP, the President is seeking other alternatives to achieve similar GHG reductions in what would be the US' single largest climate investment package in history and the largest investment in the green economy since the 2009 American Recovery Act.

Will These New Strategies Pass?

Senate Democrats hope to win over their last remaining two centrist votes by emphasizing policies incentivizing emissions reductions without penalizing those who don't, while holding on to the rest of the Democratic Caucus including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT.)

Most of the recent controversy in the budget debate revolved around a proposed "methane fee." Manchin argued this fee would cost jobs in the traditional energy sector and make energy more expensive for consumers. But in an afternoon meeting on Monday, Vice President Kamala Harris emphasized the importance of these bills. "The president and I and our administration -- are unwavering in our commitment to these issues -- absolutely unwavering," she stated.

In addition to these proposed measures, the EPA's rule to cut methane emissions might help the nation meet its emissions reduction goals.

CBS News: How close are Democrats on Biden's social programs and climate change bill?, October 26, 2021.