Energy & Environment

Granholm backs wind and solar in Biden bid to decarbonize electricity

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm speaks with reporters at the White House
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Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm backed wind and solar energy as likely to give the biggest “bang for your buck” as part of the Biden administration’s bid to decarbonize the electric sector during a House hearing Thursday. 

During an Appropriations Committee hearing on Thursday, which was slated to examine the Biden administration’s proposal for the Energy Department’s budget, Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-Wash.) asked what would be the most cost-effective clean energy technology and if the department planned to prioritize specific energy sources. 

“You love all of your children, all of your renewable energy and clean energy technologies, but I do think in terms of the biggest bang for your buck, I think research will demonstrate that it still is in solar and wind,” Granholm responded. 

“Our focus will be both on doing the research that’s necessary but also now on deploying,” she added, specifically citing the department’s loan office that helps fund various types of energy technology. 

President Biden has said that he wants the electric-sector to be free of carbon emissions by 2035, and in his infrastructure plan, said he hopes to do so by setting a clean electricity standard that’ll mandate such a transition. 

During the hearing, Granholm also expressed openness to subsidizing nuclear energy plants. 

“We’re not going to be able to achieve our climate goals if our nuclear power plants shut down, we have to find ways to keep them operating,” she said. 

“This question of some direct subsidy or some way to support these plants to stay open, that’s still an open question, but I know that this administration would be eager to work with Congress on it,” the official added. 

Asked about alternatives to a controversial nuclear waste repository in Nevada called Yucca Mountain, Granholm said that the department was “moving forward” to developing an approach to find a consent-based interim storage facility. 

“The possible steps…include requests for information, engaging with stakeholders and tribal governments, establishing a funding mechanism for interested communities, organizations, maybe tribal governments to explore the concept,” she said, adding that the department hopes to announce next steps “in the coming months.”

Tags Derek Kilmer Jennifer Granholm Joe Biden Nuclear energy Solar energy wind energy
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