Biden’s 2035 carbon-free grid goal is unrealistic: EEI chief

By Peter Behr | 06/06/2024 06:20 AM EDT

Dan Brouillette, who was Trump’s Energy secretary, said electric reliability requires gas generation.

Dan Brouillette | Getty Images

Edison Electric Institute head Dan Brouillette. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The head of the Edison Electric Institute said Wednesday that President Joe Biden’s goal of a carbon-free grid in 2035 is likely out of reach: The U.S. energy transition still requires some fossil fuel plants to operate.

“Fully decarbonizing electricity production in the United States … probably won’t happen by 2035,” said Dan Brouillette, chief executive of EEI. Brouillette, who led the Trump Department of Energy, spoke Wednesday at a virtual press conference hosted by the nonprofit U.S. Energy Association.

EEI, which represents large electricity producers, has gone to court to block new EPA regulations clamping down on planet-warming carbon dioxide emissions from coal and new natural gas generators. The EPA rule put out in May requires coal units to install carbon capture and storage infrastructure by 2032 or retire by 2039. In a late shift in policy by EPA, the rule defers action on existing gas plant carbon emissions until next year.


Although not all of EEI’s members support the organization’s lawsuit, its formidable lobbying resources will now be arrayed against the Biden administration now and during a second Biden term, if that happens. EEI has traditionally stayed out of court battles aimed at knocking down climate and air quality rules, opting to let states and individual companies challenge regulations.