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Renewables Buildout to Fall Short of Biden’s Climate Goal


(Bloomberg)
The U.S. probably will fall short of President Joe Biden’s goal of decarbonizing the power system by 2035 even though the nation is on track to almost triple wind and solar capacity over the next 10 years.

That’s the assessment of a report Friday from BloombergNEF, which hosts its annual summit in New York next week.

“The pace of wind and solar isn’t going fast enough to meet the 2035 target,” BNEF analyst Tom Rowlands-Rees said during an interview. “But even if it was, there would also have to be contributions from new technologies like batteries, carbon-capture and storage, nuclear or hydrogen.”

Solar Surge

BNEF’s forecast is based on the current trajectory of wind and solar development, taking into account existing policies. Even if Biden convinces Congress to extend clean-energy tax credits for another decade, it’s unlikely to lead to a carbon-free grid by 2035.

The report comes as the White House considers a pledge to slash greenhouse-gas emissions by 50% or more by the end of the decade. A target of that magnitude would nearly double the nation’s previous commitment, effectively requiring drastic changes in power, transportation and other sectors.

But committing to “economy-wide emissions reductions won’t change the composition of the Senate,” which dims the chances of policies needed to hit those goals, said Rowlands-Rees.

Between 2021 and 2030, BNEF forecasts 204 gigawatts of utility-scale solar installations and 83 gigawatts of small-scale photovoltaic additions across the U.S. It also projects the country will add 115 gigawatts of wind power over that period.

BNEF’s virtual conference on April 13 and 14 will examine what Biden will do for energy, ahead of the unveiling of the administration’s emissions-reduction goal. Schedled speakers include White House National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy and Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm.



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