Center For Climate and Energy Solutions Examines Illustrative Framework For Federal Clean Energy Standard

Press Release
November 30, 2011
Contact: Rebecca Matulka, 703-516-4146

C2ES Examines Illustrative Framework for Federal Clean Energy Standard

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A new paper released today by the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) describes an illustrative framework for a federal clean energy standard (CES) for the electricity sector. A CES is a market-based standard that requires electric utilities to deliver a certain amount of electricity from clean energy sources.

The paper, An Illustrative Framework for a Federal Clean Energy Standard for the Power Sector, explains how policymakers can balance the various objectives and interests associated with a federal CES.

“An effective clean energy standard can help drive the changes necessary to advance innovative U.S. energy solutions that benefit our economy and environment,” said C2ES President Eileen Claussen. “Now is the time to make concrete progress on critical policy questions so we’re prepared when the window for action opens again.”

The illustrative framework builds on Clean Energy Standards: State and Federal Policy Options and Implications, a paper released earlier this month by C2ES and the Regulatory Assistance Project. The earlier paper takes a detailed look at issues and options in designing a CES.

The new paper offers a specific illustration of how a CES could be designed to balance objectives such as maintaining diversity in the sources of electricity, advancing the next generation of energy technologies, and reducing emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants.  It examines key design issues such as the definition of “clean energy,” targets and timetables, and the use of cost off-ramps. The intention is not to recommend a specific policy approach, but to illustrate one set of design choices among the many combinations possible.

The paper also lists policies that can complement a federal CES in order to more effectively drive clean energy technology innovation and deployment. Such measures include tax credits, federal funding for energy research and development, and provisions to address institutional and regional barriers to clean energy.

Thirty-one states and the District of Columbia have already enacted some type of electricity portfolio standard, and members of Congress have several times proposed federal electricity portfolio standards. Republican-sponsored CES bills were introduced in the last Congress and President Obama called for a federal CES in his 2011 State of the Union address.

For more information about the climate and energy challenge and the activities of the C2ES, visit


About C2ES
The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) is an independent non-profit, non-partisan organization promoting strong policy and action to address the twin challenges of energy and climate change. Launched in November 2011, C2ES is the successor to the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, long recognized in the United States and abroad as an influential and pragmatic voice on climate issues. C2ES is led by Eileen Claussen, who previously led the Pew Center and is the former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs.