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Schrader, McKinley Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Spur Innovation, Reduce Power Sector Emissions

Legislation Will Give Power Producers Tools to Reduce CO2, While Maintaining Affordable Electricity and a Resilient Grid

Today, U.S. Reps. Kurt Schrader (D-OR) and David B. McKinley, P.E. (R-W.Va.) introduced the Clean Energy Future through Innovation Act of 2021, a bipartisan proposal to boost innovation of clean energy technologies and reduce emissions from the power sector while preserving affordability and reliability. 

The legislation would make significant investments in energy innovation and infrastructure, including carbon capture, advanced nuclear, renewables, efficiency, and storage. After a decade of innovation, it establishes a technology-neutral clean energy standard that would reduce CO2 emissions 80% by 2050. The legislation has bipartisan broad support from utilities to environmental groups to labor. 

“Climate change is real, and as we witnessed with last summer’s devastating wildfires in Oregon and other Western states, its impact puts us all at risk. That’s why we need a bold, bipartisan solution that takes an ‘all-of-the-above’ approach to tackling the threat,” Rep. Schrader said. “The plan I introduced with my Republican colleague Congressman McKinley — the Clean Energy Future through Innovation Act of 2021 — would combat climate change by making investments in the next generation of low-carbon and clean energy technologies, while establishing clear and durable policies for their use that will reduce harmful carbon emissions in the electric power sector by a net 95%. By working together to cut carbon emissions and create new technologies and jobs, we will ensure a better, safer planet for our children and grandchildren.”

“America needs energy policy that can endure, rather than one that changes after each election and judicial decision,” said Rep. McKinley. “Our bipartisan approach will not only reduce carbon emissions while ensuring affordable and resilient electricity, it will position the United States as a global leader in clean energy innovation. By working together and making investments we will be able to export technology to the rest of the world and provide a global solution to this problem.”

The bill introduction comes after Reps. Schrader and McKinley released a discussion draft in September and introduced legislation in December 2020. They continued to receive feedback and refined the bill further before reintroducing.

Joining Reps. Schrader and McKinley as original cosponsors are Representatives Claudia Tenney (R-NY) and Jim Costa (D-CA).

“America has and must continue to lead the way in developing innovative clean energy solutions. This legislation capitalizes on affordable and reliable power production from a range of sources while investing in forward-thinking energy technologies that will have a positive impact on our environment, without picking winners and losers or crushing jobs here at home,” said Congresswoman Tenney. “The Clean Energy Future through Innovation Act is reasonable and realistic, and it brings a diverse group of stakeholders together to ensure America continues to prioritize responsible clean energy innovation.”

“The devastating effects of climate change are getting worse every year, but we can work to mitigate the damage by investing in new and innovative ways to fight it,” said Rep. Costa. “This bill will work to develop 21st century solutions to reduce our carbon footprint and develop clean energy technology to protect our environment. We must do what we can to ensure we live in and leave behind a safer and more sustainable world for the next generation.”

Background:

The plan calls for a decade of public and private investments in clean energy innovation and infrastructure development, followed by new regulatory standards to ensure environmental and energy goals are met. Innovation alone isn’t enough. We must clarify what federal law will (and will not) require, to provide a stable and predictable policy framework for investors and electric utilities in the decades ahead. Executive orders and administrative actions that prolong the political and legal battles won’t solve this problem — but bipartisan legislation can.

Last year, Reps. Schrader and McKinley outlined their approach in an opinion piece in the USA Today’s Hidden Common Ground Section urging a new, more pragmatic legislative approach.  

Click to see the bill text here.

Click here for a section by section.

What They’re Saying about the Schrader-McKinley Bill:

“ACEEE is supportive of the McKinley-Schrader effort as it seeks to advance innovation while providing a backstop that ensures that substantial greenhouse gas emissions reductions take place. We appreciate how this bill includes several provisions to spur energy efficiency innovations and look forward to working with the sponsors to advance the energy efficiency conversation.”

—Steve Nadel, Executive Director, American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE)

“Reps. McKinley and Schrader’s legislation is a critical step forward for federal energy and climate policy.  The difference between climate dialogue and climate solutions is the adoption of durable policy that has the support of a broad cross section of the congress and the country.   The McKinley-Schrader legislation is the most ambitious bipartisan climate proposal in the U.S. House of Representatives.  Notably, the legislation combines immediate clean energy innovation programs with long-term national decarbonization targets for the power sector.  Equally important, the legislation embraces a future in which all regions of the country play a meaningful role in the designing and implementing low carbon solutions.  We look forward to working with Congress to advance this bipartisan effort to accelerate the development and deployment of carbon free power.”

— Jason Grumet, President, Bipartisan Policy Center

“I congratulate Representatives McKinley and Schrader for their leadership and creativity on this critical issue. Decarbonization of the power sector is essential, and the unique structure of the McKinley-Schrader bill gives it a bipartisan appeal that is indispensable in a closely divided Congress. The McKinley-Schrader legislation focuses on investments in innovative clean energy technologies, but for the first time combines that with the certainty of a clean energy standard. Significant investments in clean energy infrastructure would help rebuild and grow the U.S. economy at this critical time, while its clean energy standard would help put us on pathway to carbon neutrality. Representatives McKinley and Schrader have built a bipartisan bridge that is essential for durable climate policies.”

—Bob Perciasepe, President, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions

“Immediate action in the power sector is vital in order to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero and stave off the worst impacts from climate change. Lasting climate solutions will require incentivizing the deployment of clean energy technologies and creating a solid regulatory structure to provide a clear framework for power producers to achieve emission reductions. We are grateful to Reps. McKinley and Schrader for their leadership in developing this bipartisan, innovative approach to cutting climate pollution, and we look forward to working with them and other climate and energy leaders to advance durable, equitable policy solutions that protect wildlife and people, alike.”

 Shannon Heyck-Williams, Director of Climate and Energy Policy, National Wildlife Federation.

“The Clean Energy Future through Innovation Act of 2021 is an important contribution for addressing climate change. The legislation provides for a smooth transition to low carbon power by front loading investment in the technologies needed to achieve significant emission reductions. Representatives McKinley and Schrader should be commended for recognizing that the durability of any future climate policy is predicated on bipartisan congressional action that implements affordable and achievable goals.”

—Jeff Kupfer, President, ConservAmerica

“At a time when Americans are crying out for bipartisan leadership on energy and climate policy, Reps. McKinley and Schrader are providing it. Real solutions to our climate and energy challenges will require that both parties step outside of their traditional comfort zones and reach across the aisle, recognizing the valid concerns of all sides. The Clean Energy Future through Innovation Act is the only proposal in Congress today that combines the best thinking of both parties to produce a pragmatic path to a clean energy future for America. It isn’t the greenest bill in Congress, and it’s not the reddest—but it is the most realistic. It is imperative that Congress act to end the decades of uncertainty over federal climate policy and empower America’s entrepreneurs and investors to do what they do best—build a better future. Decarbonization of the electric power grid is possible—but it won’t happen without bipartisan legislation that addresses both the innovation and regulatory elements of this transition.”

—Samuel Thernstrom, Chief Executive Officer, Energy Innovation Reform Project

“The Nuclear Innovation Alliance applauds Representatives McKinley and Schrader for introducing the Clean Energy Future through Innovation Act. This bipartisan bill takes a technology-inclusive approach and combines robust innovation investment with a Clean Electricity Standard.  These features are critical to achieving deep decarbonization. We need durable policy to invest in and deploy all promising technologies, including advanced nuclear energy, to achieve our climate goals, create jobs and secure our economic future.”

—Judi Greenwald, Executive Director, Nuclear Innovation Alliance

“The bipartisan "Clean Energy Future Through Innovation Act of 2021" introduced by Representatives McKinley and Schrader, with its strong focus on providing financial support for investment in new clean energy technologies including CCUS, nuclear, as well as wind and solar, provides a solid foundation for future bipartisan collaboration necessary to move our nation forward to address climate change.  At Ameren we are fully committed to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and powering a cleaner energy future.  By accelerating investments in new clean energy technologies we are getting the energy we provide as clean as we can, as fast as we can, while maintaining the reliability and affordability our customers and communities depend on.”

—Ameren

“American Electric Power commends Representatives David McKinley and Kurt Schrader for their effort to develop legislation that focuses on clean energy technology development, including an all-encompassing program for the demonstration and deployment of carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS), combined with a new federal regulatory framework that requires low- and zero-emitting generation. AEP is committed to a clean energy future and is focused on diversifying our resource portfolio, deploying new technologies and modernizing the grid to support and accelerate the transition to clean energy. We have cut our carbon dioxide emissions by 74% since 2000 and are committed to achieving net zero emissions by 2050. AEP plans to add nearly 16,600 MW of wind and solar generation in its regulated states between 2021 and 2030, growing our renewable generation portfolio to more than 50% of total capacity by 2030. Preserving and enhancing our transmission and distribution systems, in addition to technological advances, including energy storage and CCUS, will determine how quickly AEP can achieve net zero emissions while continuing to provide reliable, affordable power for customers.”

— American Electric Power

“We commend Representatives David McKinley and Kurt Schrader for their work to develop bipartisan climate legislation, the Clean Energy Future Through Innovation Act.  At Xcel Energy we are already working to achieve 80% carbon reductions by 2030 and we have a vision of reaching a zero-carbon electric system by 2050.  However, to make that vision a reality will require strong federal leadership to promote the development of new carbon-free dispatchable generation resources.   In addition to encouraging innovation, we believe a well-designed national clean energy standard would provide the long-term regulatory framework needed to achieve carbon goals while maintaining system reliability and affordability.  We look forward to working with Reps. McKinley and Schrader, as well as others in Congress and the Biden Administration, to promote meaningful action on federal climate legislation this year.”

—Frank Prager, SVP Strategy, Planning & External Affairs, Xcel Energy

“We commend Representatives Schrader and McKinley for introducing legislation that recognizes innovation’s critical role in any vision of a lower-carbon economy. American chemistry is exploring, developing, and deploying a host of exciting new technologies to reduce emissions in the manufacture and use of our products while creating solutions that enable many renewable and energy-saving applications. This bill accelerates the clean technology development necessary for climate progress.”

—American Chemistry Council 

“The path to achieve durable climate solutions is through bipartisan legislation in Congress.  We appreciate Representative McKinley and Schrader’s continued efforts to put forward a good faith proposal and advance the dialogue.   As the business community continues to develop private sector solutions, we stand ready to work with them and others on this important issue.”

—U.S. Chamber of Commerce

“Duke Energy remains committed to delivering a cleaner energy future for all Americans. While there are many paths to achieve this goal, we applaud Rep. McKinley and Rep. Schrader’s efforts to prioritize new technology innovation and clean energy investments in a bipartisan fashion. We look forward to continuing our energy transition in a way that collaborates with policy makers and communities to further reduce carbon emissions while maintaining affordability and reliability for customers.”

—Jennifer Loraine, Managing Director, Federal Energy Policy, Duke Energy

“Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time, and EEI commends U.S. Representatives David McKinley and Kurt Schrader for their focus on developing the new 24/7 carbon-free energy technologies we need to significantly reduce carbon emissions across the U.S. economy. A well-designed clean energy standard (CES) that values all clean, carbon-free resources, including nuclear energy and hydropower, and recognizes new and emerging technologies, such as carbon capture and storage and hydrogen, can support and accelerate electric companies’ clean energy transition. We appreciate the strong support for carbon-free technologies in the Clean Energy Future Through Innovation Act of 2021 introduced by Representatives McKinley and Schrader.”

—Brian Wolff, Vice President for Public Policy and External Affairs, Edison Electric Institute (EEI) Executive 

“Reintroduction of the McKinley-Schrader bill marks an important milestone along the road to enacting climate legislation. It is a bipartisan effort that uniquely addresses the need for both forward-looking energy innovation policy and for new, clear and efficient regulatory authority. EnergyForward is committed to the clean-energy transition and the technological breakthroughs needed to make it a reality. We look forward to working with Reps. McKinley and Schrader, as well as other policymakers and stakeholders, as Congress considers this bill. Cynics say it can’t be done, but Reps. McKinley and Schrader have shown there’s room for pragmatic, bipartisan agreement on a fresh approach to climate that would produce real results.”

—Scott Segal, director, EnergyForward and partner at Bracewell LLP.  EnergyForward is a coalition of utilities that includes Ameren, Duke, DTE Energy, Southern, Salt River Project and Vistra.

“The Clean Energy Future through Innovation Act demonstrates strong bipartisan support for technology-inclusive policies and investments in the next generation of low-carbon technologies. Nuclear is positioned to play a critical role globally as we work to address the changing climate. If we are serious about decarbonization, it is critical that our future clean energy system includes carbon-free nuclear energy alongside wind, solar, and energy storage. We are thankful for Representatives McKinley and Schrader’s continued legislative support to value the nuclear reactors we operate today and accelerate the deployment of game-changing, new nuclear technologies to power a cleaner energy future. We expect to see continued growth of strong, bipartisan support for nuclear energy as a key element of an increasingly decarbonized energy system.”

—Maria Korsnick, President and CEO, Nuclear Energy Institute

“The Clean Energy Future Through Innovation Act of 2021 is an incredibly impactful proposal that will invest in technology and incentivize emission reductions, and Occidental is proud to support it.  Last year, Occidental announced our Pathway to Net-Zero before 2040 for operational and energy use emissions, and before 2050 for emissions associated with our products.  Legislation like this encourages and enables companies like ours to make progress toward those goals.  Government investments in technology and infrastructure are critical to enable the transition to net-zero, and Representatives McKinley and Schrader have written a bill to do just that.  We applaud their effort and look forward to working with them on passing this important bill.”  

—Richard Jackson, President, Operations, U.S. Onshore Resources and Carbon Management, Occidental

“Representatives McKinley and Schrader’s proposal not only complements existing policy to spur carbon capture deployment, but also creates a full suite of policy mechanisms to accelerate that deployment. I commend their bipartisan approach to crafting legislation that leads with innovation and investment in advancing technology in the energy sector.”

—Don E. Gaston Jr., President and CEO, Prairie State Generating Company

“For more than a century, Southern Company has been building the future of energy and developing the full portfolio of energy resources, including carbon-free nuclear, advanced carbon capture technologies, natural gas, renewables, energy efficiency and storage technology. We continue our industry-leading research and development, focusing on technologies that benefit customers and lower greenhouse gas emissions. We believe Congress can facilitate the transition to net zero by establishing clear and durable federal energy and climate policies. Utilities will be best positioned to succeed when there is certainty, clarity and robust partnerships with the government. 

We are encouraged by the vision and leadership that Representatives McKinley and Schrader have shown in crafting this unique, bipartisan proposal to guide investments in clean energy innovation and infrastructure development. We are committed to working with policymakers to bring this issue to a successful resolution, and believe this proposal provides a broad framework for action that both parties could accept.”

—Southern Company

“Public support for action on climate has never been higher—what is needed now is leadership and practical plans to do the job. We commend Reps. McKinley and Schrader for their pragmatic, bipartisan proposal to modernize America’s power sector and eliminate its carbon emissions. Importantly, the Clean Energy Future through Innovation Act recognizes the indispensable role that advanced technologies such as 8 Rivers’ and NET Power’s Allam-Fetvedt Cycle have to play in a fuel-inclusive clean future—as well as the critical role of sound public policy. If Congress can establish pragmatic and durable climate and energy policy, investors and innovators such as 8 Rivers are ready to do our part, with innovative technologies that make clean energy affordable for every country and which position the United States as the technology leader for the global energy transition.”

—Cam Hosie, Chief Executive Officer, 8Rivers

“On behalf of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, the largest energy union in the United States, we are appreciative of the leadership of Congressmen McKinley and Schrader to develop commonsense, bipartisan legislation that will address the climate crisis through innovation and regulatory certainty while creating and maintaining tens of thousands – potentially hundreds of thousands – of family-supporting IBEW jobs. The Clean Energy Future Through Innovation Act will invest in reducing emissions in fossil fuel power generation, support existing and advanced nuclear generation and promote energy efficiency, all significant sources of employment for our members. The IBEW hopes legislators on both sides of the aisle will come together to advance legislation that promotes job creation, grid reliability and emissions reductions – principles that are reflected in the Clean Energy Future Through Innovation Act.”

— Lonnie R. Stephenson, International President, IBEW

“The Clean Energy Future Through Innovation Act takes a bipartisan, sensible approach towards addressing the energy and climate challenges as well as opportunities facing our country. More importantly, the bill's inclusion of labor standards such as prevailing wage and registered apprenticeship assures that the hard working men and women in the construction industry will have the economic security that millions of Americans are searching for, or trying to maintain, as we continue to navigate this pandemic. The absence of these and other vital standards from any infrastructure legislation only serves to cut out workers and their communities from economic opportunities that exist because of federally supported projects in their areas.”

—Sean McGarvey, President, North America’s Building Trades Unions      

“The UMWA is in full support of this critical legislation. It would provide an essential component of our nation’s ability to address climate change while preserving high-paying jobs in coal-producing areas of America and the communities that depend on those jobs. We have long called for accelerated development of CCS technology, and this bill provides the pathway to do just that. As Congress considers energy transition legislation that will have far-reaching effects on all Americans, it should incorporate the language Reps. McKinley and Schrader have authored.”

—Cecil Roberts, President, United Mine Workers of America

“The International Brotherhood of Boilermakers applaud Representatives McKinley and Schrader for introducing bipartisan legislation to accelerate the development and commercialization of clean energy technologies. The Boilermakers have long supported efforts to advance carbon capture technologies - a sensible and necessary solution to decarbonizing fossil fuels and industrial emissions - and preserve and expand the U.S. nuclear fleet. All tools will be needed to responsibly address carbon emissions and the advanced technologies that this legislation supports will also create substantial construction and manufacturing opportunities, along with thousands of good-paying American jobs. We look forward to working with Mr. McKinley and Mr. Schrader to advance this important effort.” 

—Cecile M. Conroy, Government Affairs Director, International Brotherhood of Boilermakers


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