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The Interchange podcast: How Biden’s clean electricity standard might work

How would a CES decarbonize the grid?

1 minute read

This week, we’ll take a peek at the news. President Biden unveiled his administration's plan for a $3.5 trillion infrastructure plan which the democrats hope to pass through reconciliation. While the details are still sparse, we do know that one of the linchpins of the Biden administration's climate strategy -- a national clean electricity standard (CES) -- is included in the plan.

It's a big deal. If you care about the power sector, a national CES might be the most impactful piece of legislation affecting it in decades. If you care about decarbonization, almost every pathway drives directly through a decarbonized power sector combined with large-scale electrification of other sectors such as transportation, industry and heating.

But the details are still being worked out, and there’s a labyrinth of parliamentary rules that a CES would have to navigate to make it through the US Senate’s budget reconciliation process.

To shine a light on the process and what a CES could look like, this episode turns to Jesse Jenkins, an energy modelling expert at Princeton who is helping to design the policy in the bill.

This episode sees talk about the differences between a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) and a CES, crafting a CES through the budget instead of regulation, the role that technology-neutral tax credits could play in the bill, the funds and penalties utilities might face, and how to get the incentives right for the energy transition given the limitations of reconciliation.

View the landing page to hear all episodes of The Interchange Recharged.