March 4, 2021
The CLEAN Future Act’s Clean Electricity Standard
House Energy and Commerce Committee Democrats recently introduced the Climate Leadership and Environmental Action for our Nation’s (CLEAN) Future Act, which aims for economy-wide net zero emissions by 2050. Most notably, the bill seeks to achieve net zero emissions in the power sector by 2035 through a credit-trading system. The bill’s success, however, relies on the adoption of carbon-capture technology that is too costly or not commercialized yet, writes AAF’s Director of Energy Policy Ewelina Czapla, and as a result it could drive up costs without reducing emissions.
For generators relying on fossil fuels, carbon intensity would be calculated by not only including emissions at the point of fuel consumption but also upstream emissions associated with the fuels’ extraction, including flaring, as well as processing and transportation. Under the bill, the Environmental Protection Agency would promulgate rules to determine how to account for these upstream emissions. The EPA would also issue credits for carbon capture, which would eventually be required for any fossil fuel generation that intends to operate under the trading program in the next 14 years. Similarly, credits would be issued for direct air capture of carbon dioxide.