Projected Effects of the Clean Energy Standard Act of 2019
RFF researchers modeled the effects of Sen. Tina Smith and Rep. Ben Ray Luján's Clean Energy Standard Act of 2019, which would require retail electricity suppliers to sell an increasing amount of clean energy over time.
On May 8, 2019, Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN) and Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) introduced the “Clean Energy Standard Act of 2019” (hereafter referred to as “the Act” or “the Policy”). Under the Act, suppliers of retail electricity would be required to account for a percentage of their retail sales as coming from sources that are “clean,” measured according to the amount of greenhouse gas emissions per unit of electricity generated. Under the Act, the nationally averaged percentage requirement for clean electricity increases from approximately 51 percent of retail sales in 2021 to approximately 77 percent in 2035 and approximately 96 percent in 2050.
Summary of Modeling Results
Relative to a “no additional policy” baseline, the proposed Clean Energy Standard Act of 2019 is projected to:
- Reduce power sector greenhouse gas emissions in 2035 by 61 percent, with cumulative emission reductions between 2020 and 2035 of approximately 10 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent;
- Increase generation by renewables from 30 percent to 56 percent of total generation in 2035;
- Avoid retirement of 43 GW of nuclear generation capacity as of 2035, which would increase nuclear generation from 10 percent to 18 percent of total generation in 2035.
- Reduce generation from fossil sources from 60 percent to 26 percent of total generation in 2035;
- Provide net benefits of $579 billion over the 2020–2035 time period;
- Prevent 30,000 premature deaths from air pollution in the US over the 2020–2035 time period; and
- Increase nationally averaged retail electricity rates by 4 percent in 2035.
Kevin Rennert is a fellow at RFF. He also serves as director of the Federal Climate Policy Initiative.
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