Biden's Executive Actions Keep Climate Progress Going Despite Senate Hold-up
Clean energy options, including solar, should become more accessible and more affordable for lower-income Americans following a six-part plan of executive actions put forth by President Biden. The new program, managed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), will expand community solar power access for subsidized housing residents.
Issued when it seemed Senator Manchin would nix any congressional climate measures, the President’s suite of executive actions now will move in tandem with Congress’s climate legislation, which Senators Manchin and Schumer agreed upon early last week. Other measures in Biden’s plan will expand wind power in the Gulf of Mexico, subsidize energy efficiency upgrades for rental homes in rural America, and fund community efforts to brace against floods and extreme heat.
CBS: Biden announces new executive action to combat climate change, July 20, 2022.
CNN: 'This is an emergency' | Biden unveils executive action on climate, July 20, 2022.
Bloomberg: Solar Energy Demand Set to Surge in 2022, July 27, 2022.
Why This Matters
President Biden’s efforts to expand solar power in communities that have been clean energy deserts could make a big difference for subsidized housing residents, who otherwise may not have had access. In fact, the expense of installing costly systems is the main obstacle for most who would otherwise make the switch. A 2019 study from Pew Research found that only 6% of homeowners have panels, despite 46% reportedly wanting them.
Under the President’s solar program, the cost will not be an issue. Residents will pay a subscription fee to tap into a shared solar farm, which saves them from installation costs and shrinks their monthly power bill by as much as 20%.
"The combination of extreme heat and rising utility prices creates a perfect storm, and HUD-assisted families and communities are some of the most vulnerable,” explained Secretary Marcia Fudge of HUD. "The steps announced today by the Biden Administration will not only help families reduce utility costs, but also provide an opportunity for HUD-assisted residents to participate in the clean energy economy through local community solar programs.”
Voice of America: Community Solar Powers New York City’s Green Grid, July 27, 2022.
Bloomberg: Community Solar Is Bringing Renewable Energy to Everyone, March 23, 2021.
Beating the Heat
In addition to its efforts to expand the solar panel, the Biden Administration also rolled out new resources to help Americans cope with extreme heat. Using heat.gov, launched just last Tuesday, Americans can now view a temperature map, including daily highs and lows, heat trends, and visualizations of how the sweltering weather impacts the country as a whole. The website also offers advice on recognizing and treating signs of heatstroke and how to stay cool when temperatures climb.
ABC: Deadly heatwave continues to rock US, July 21, 2022.
NBC: Heat Wave Worsens As 75 Million Americans Are Under Alerts, July 22, 2022.
The Economist: How to cool a warming world, November 12, 2021.