A White House-backed clean power program that was rejected by Senator Joe Manchin could be resurrected as a grant program that would reward states that increase clean energy.
Lawmakers have been working on a Clean Energy Challenge Grant Program for states as an alternative, Representative Jared Huffman, a California Democrat, said in a telephone interview following a meeting with President Joe Biden and progressive lawmakers at the White House Tuesday.
“My understanding is it is a set of pretty significant incentives to get most states to achieve clean energy,” Huffman said. “The point I made to the president is we have find something that achieves the same power sector emission reductions because without it we are off track.”
The White House and congressional Democrats have been looking for an alternative to the Clean Electricity Payment Program, which, as part of a much larger spending bill, would have provided grants to utilities that increased their clean-energy generation by 4% annually and penalized those that failed to meet that goal.
The program has been a major priority for the White House, but was effectively killed after Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat and a key swing vote in the evenly divided Senate, declared his opposition to the program, which he has said would pay utilities for doing what they are already doing.
The issue is taking on new urgency with the opening of the United Nations climate change conference in Scotland less than two weeks away. Congress has yet to agree on a program that could help the president, who will be attending the conference along with several top US officials, achieve his stated goal of reducing American greenhouse gas emissions by 50% from 2005 levels by decade’s end.