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President Biden announces 24/7 carbon-free electricity commitment, leveraging buying power to advance critical carbon-free technologies

December 8, 2021

WASHINGTON — President Biden announced today an executive order committing the U.S. federal government to procure 100% and 24/7 carbon-free electricity, “setting a bold benchmark for electricity procurement and putting the U.S. government’s immense buying power to work advancing critical carbon-free technologies,” said Lindsey Baxter Griffith, Federal Policy Director at Clean Air Task Force.

The executive order, announced as part of a sweeping new U.S. government sustainability plan, commits the federal government to procure 100% carbon free electricity by 2030, with 50% of that electricity available 24/7.

24/7 carbon-free electricity procurement differs from renewable energy procurement in two ways: it includes critical carbon-free technologies beyond wind and solar; and it maps carbon emissions to actual reductions at the time they occur. This approach achieves the tandem goals of increasing actual carbon reductions and stimulating the market for all clean energy technologies, including clean firm sources like zero-carbon fuels, carbon capture and storage, and nuclear energy.

Griffith continued:
“We’re pleased to see the U.S. federal government, which is the largest electricity purchaser in the nation, focus on what matters most: fully decarbonizing electricity, investing in clean communities and solutions that will work across our grid every hour of every day, and commercializing the full range of technologies needed to get the job done. We support this executive order and stand ready to support the Biden administration as it puts its considerable ambition into action.”

The executive order comes after CATF and a cadre of leading companies and environmental NGOs urged the Biden administration to commit to procuring 24/7 carbon-free energy in March of this year. Just last month, at COP26, CATF became the first environmental NGO to join the United Nations’ 24/7 Carbon-Free Energy Compact, alongside major companies and national and municipal governments committed to this higher-ambition procurement practice.

Transportation

The Biden administration’s sustainability plan also commits the U.S. to building a federal fleet of zero-emissions vehicles, which will help catalyze the transition to a clean transportation sector and help justify investments in the development and deployment of clean vehicles — as well as the production and distribution of low- and zero-carbon energy carriers like electricity and hydrogen fuels.

The shift to zero-emissions vehicles will not just reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote rapid decarbonization of the transportation sector, it will also improve air quality across the country, particularly in communities that have borne the brunt of harmful vehicle emissions for decades.

“We support the Biden administration’s commitment to build a federal fleet of zero-emissions vehicles,” said Jonathan Lewis, Director of Transportation Decarbonization at Clean Air Task Force. “Reducing pollution from the transportation sector will require more than the purchase of zero-emissions vehicles, however. It also hinges on the availability of low- and zero-carbon energy. It’s critically important that we build clean energy infrastructure, including the clean electricity charging stations and clean hydrogen refueling stations that are targeted for development in the recently passed Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and in the forthcoming Build Back Better Act. We look forward to working with the Biden Administration on implementing this important initiative for transportation decarbonization.”


Press Contact

Troy Shaheen, Communications Director, U.S., Clean Air Task Force, tshaheen@catf.us, +1 845-750-1189

About Clean Air Task Force

Clean Air Task Force (CATF) is a global nonprofit organization working to safeguard against the worst impacts of climate change by catalyzing the rapid development and deployment of low-carbon energy and other climate-protecting technologies. With 25 years of internationally recognized expertise on climate policy and a fierce commitment to exploring all potential solutions, CATF is a pragmatic, non-ideological advocacy group with the bold ideas needed to address climate change. CATF has offices in Boston, Washington D.C., and Brussels, with staff working virtually around the world.  

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