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Democrats Eye Penalties for Utilities That Miss Climate Targets

  • Senate plan would impose clean energy mandate through budget
  • Program also would reward utilities for clean power gains
A wind farm in Rio Vista, California.

A wind farm in Rio Vista, California.

Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Senate Democrats are proposing to penalize utilities that don’t meet clean-energy targets, while rewarding those that do, as part of a mandate for carbon-free power they are preparing to move through their $3.5 trillion tax-and-spending package.

The plan, known as a clean energy standard, would mandate 80% carbon-free electricity by 2030 and require sweeping changes in the nation’s power sector. The directive would help fulfill one of President Joe Biden’s signature climate goals -- decarbonizing the electric grid by 2035 -- and help satisfy his Paris Agreement pledge to halve the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions by the end of the decade.