House Energy & Commerce Committee releases climate change-focused energy bill

On January 28, several majority members of the House Energy & Commerce Committee released a 622-page bill focused on addressing the impacts of climate change. Perhaps the most notable provision in the wide-ranging legislation is the goal of achieving a 100% clean economy by 2050 (bill language and section-by-section summary) and the creation of a federal Clean Energy Standard.

Title II of the legislation is focused specifically on the power sector (although much of the sweeping legislation would impact the electric grid). The bill includes language regarding electric transmission that mandates “the interconnection and coordination of facilities” under an ISO/RTO (“‘The Commission shall require each public utility to place its transmission facilities under the control of an ISO or an RTO not later than two years after the date of enactment’’) and clarifies that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission “may approve a carbon pricing regime that reflects the externalities associated with greenhouse gas emissions, to be used in setting rates and charges under sections 205 and 206 of the Federal Power Act.”

The measure mandates that states draft and submit “State Climate Plans” to the US Environmental Protection Agency, and dedicates significant attention to promoting energy efficiency as well as changes in the transportation sector.

The Committee is likely to embark on a period of receiving stakeholder feedback as well as several committee hearings to discuss various aspects of the legislation.

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