- Democrats are drafting a $3.5 trillion dollar infrastructure plan that includes $150 billion for clean energy initiatives.
- A new analysis found that, if adopted, it would create 7.7 million new jobs and add nearly $1 trillion to the US economy.
- The program would financially incentivize utilities to transition from fossil fuels to clean energy.
As part of their $3.5 trillion infrastructure proposal, Democrats want to invest in green energy. In addition to fighting the climate crisis, that investment could create millions of new jobs and boost economic growth by nearly $1 trillion over the next decade, according to analysis first reported by CNN on Thursday.
The Clean Electricity Payment Program (CEPP), which makes up $150 billion of the plan, could deliver many of the economic gains that could define President Joe Biden’s presidential legacy.
It would create 7.7 million jobs and add $907 billion to the US economy by 2031, according to a report from the consulting firm Analysis Group. The report was commissioned by Evergreen Action and the Natural Resources Defense Council, two environmental groups that have pushed for increased use of renewable energy.
Details on the blockbuster spending package have emerged over the last few days as House committees finalize key elements of the bill. The plan has been championed by Biden as an investment in American families and a boost to the economic recovery.
Speaking on Tuesday of the devastation brought by Hurricane Ida, Biden said the climate crisis is a “code red” situation.
This massive investment in the future of green energy would theoretically pay for itself by raising $154 billion in tax revenue from utilities for federal, state, and local governments.
Incentivize a gradual shift to renewable energy
The Democrats’ plan would first use grants to incentivize electric utilities that lean more on renewable energy sources like wind, solar, and nuclear power, but it would penalize companies that are unsuccessful in boosting their clean-energy usage.
By using an incentive-based approach, companies are pushed to slowly transition to renewable energy sources to help Biden achieve his goal of getting the US to roughly half of 2005’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.
Grants and penalties would run from 2023 to 2030 if the program wins approval.
Tax credits mean utilities can’t gouge customers
Part of the reasoning behind a federal incentive for utilities that use renewable energy is to keep costs low for the customers who pay monthly utility bills. Without that incentive, electric companies could pass along the cost of transitioning away from fossil fuels on to Americans.
In addition to lower bills, steady jobs help keep Americans spending in the national economy, 70% of which relies on consumer spending to function healthily.
Jobs in construction, retail, and manufacturing
CEPP is projected to add 125,000 new jobs per year early in its life cycle and eventually support 1.7 million jobs each year by 2030.
“These are new jobs; jobs that otherwise would not exist absent the CEPP,” Pavel Darling, one of the report’s authors, told CNN. The program would boost job growth in the construction, retail, and manufacturing sectors, according to the report.
Biden has repeatedly touted clean energy projects as a boon for the economy, pairing the labor-market recovery with the need to fight the climate crisis.
“When I think of climate change, I think of jobs,” Biden said during an April 28 address to Congress. “There is simply no reason why the blades for wind turbines can’t be built in Pittsburgh instead of Beijing.”