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CATF supports the U.S. federal government’s carbon-free electricity commitment, providing recommendations to maximize its impact

March 10, 2022

WASHINGTON — Clean Air Task Force submitted comments to the U.S. federal government this week in response to a request for information regarding its plan to transition the federal government to a carbon-free electricity supply, supporting the government’s ambition while urging it to improve key provisions. 

“Clean Air Task Force fully supports the U.S. government’s efforts to transition to a carbon-free electricity supply, which would put its immense buying power to work decarbonizing the electricity grid and commercializing a full suite of critical carbon-free technologies,” said Lindsey Baxter Griffith, Federal Policy Director at CATF. “The government’s ambitions are laudable, and there are clear steps it can take to improve its current plan to ensure this effort makes its desired, and sorely needed, impact.” 

The current plan, announced as part of an executive order from President Biden in December, commits the U.S. federal government to procuring carbon-free energy and establishes a goal to achieve a carbon pollution-free electricity sector by 2035. It also requires each federal agency to increase its percentage use of carbon-free electricity, to match electricity use on an hourly basis, to achieve 50% 24/7 carbon-free electricity by fiscal year 2030, to achieve a 65% reduction in Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions, and to catalyze the development of at least 10 gigawatts of new American clean electricity production by 2030. 

CATF experts carefully examined the Biden Administration’s plan and provided detailed evaluations and recommendations to increase its impact. These include: 

  1. The federal government should require a minimum percentage of carbon-free energy supply in each hour, such that by 2030 at least 50% of the load is being matched by carbon-free energy supply in every hour of the year. CATF recommendations explain “without this change, there is little chance of reaching 100% of load being matched by carbon-free energy supply in every hour of the year by 2035.” 

    Alternatively, if the federal government keeps the existing methodology, then CATF recommends that it require at least 80% matching with a stated preference for reaching even higher levels by 2030.  
  1. The carbon-free energy product should be designed and standardized across federal agencies so that it can be replicated by a wide range of non-government buyers and suppliers, including competitive retail suppliers serving retail customers, utilities, and community choice aggregation programs. 
  1. More broadly, when reviewing supply offers, the federal government should establish priorities and clear criteria that align their selection decisions with the overarching goal to achieve a fully decarbonized grid by 2035. Revealing these criteria in advance would enable suppliers to develop offers that more directly meet the needs of the federal government in a whole-of-government approach, as well as structure offers to better meet the targets set by President Biden’s executive order. 

Read the full submission from CATF.  

Griffith continued: “The federal government took a major step forward by announcing a bold benchmark for electricity procurement. Now it’s time to ensure that the details match the scope and scale of those ambitions. We’re pleased to have the opportunity to weigh in on this critical effort, and look forward to working with the Administration to ensure its electricity procurement practices drive the changes needed to ensure a carbon-free U.S. electricity grid.” 

Press Contact

Troy Shaheen, Communications Director, U.S., Clean Air Task Force, [email protected], +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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