Environmental permitting might block Biden’s clean energy targets

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President Joe Biden has been forging ahead with his infrastructure agenda, having released his $2.3 trillion American Jobs Plan in March and convening 40 world leaders in April to discuss related climate issues. The president’s infrastructure plan is not timid—especially its energy transition agenda, which calls for our nation’s power generation to be carbon-free by 2035. To understand the magnitude of this transition, it would require replacing 838 gigawatts (GW) of generation capacity, or approximately 80% of the nation’s total.

Two major obstacles stand in the way of the U.S. meeting this 2035 goal: adequate funding and the government’s ability to provide permits necessary to deploy wind and solar generation. The administration attempted to tackle the need for adequate funding head-on by proposing $100 billion in additional federal funding and providing tax and other incentives for renewable power. The permitting challenges, though, remain a key sticking point that need to be addressed.