Report: New Policies Needed to Support Clean Energy Standards

Press Release
November 20, 2019

Contact: Alec Gerlach,, 703-516-0621

Report: New Policies Needed to Support Clean Energy Standards

Explores Possibilities for Economy-wide Integration of CES

Join today’s 1PM ET webinar

WASHINGTON—The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) today released a new report exploring the potential for clean energy standards (CES) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at state and federal levels. Without new policies to accelerate clean energy deployments, the United States will likely fall short of mid-century climate goals. A CES offers a market-based solution with advantageous flexibility.

This report also considers how a clean energy standard would potentially integrate with greenhouse gas reduction programs in other sectors beyond power generation. A key focus would be developing a linking mechanism and exchange ratios to account for “ton-for-ton” emission reductions across sectors. Design of an economy-wide system would also require an administrative authority and an entity for independent verification and validation.

Read the Report

“The businesses we work with have shown a great level of interest in market-based climate solutions to meet our mid-century climate goals,” said C2ES President Bob Perciasepe. “A clean energy standard would also be an attractive alternative to state and federal policymakers eager to make immediate headway in eliminating climate emissions, while preserving economic growth and flexibility to meet ambitious targets.”

While clean electricity generation has grown over recent years, the pace of transition will not be insufficient to prevent growing climate impacts and the continued rise of global average temperatures without new policies to support clean resources. A CES program may be an appealing alternative to policymakers seeking to implement market-based climate solutions while preserving critical elements for economic growth.

A CES can be a flexible, market-based policy to increase clean energy generation and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while offering a more diverse electricity supply, public health benefits, and clean energy job creation. Cleaner electricity is also a necessary predicate to decarbonizing a large majority of other energy uses, such as transportation and building energy use.

State CES programs have complemented renewable portfolio standards, and several states have already enacted electricity portfolio standards that have attributes of a CES. The concept of clean energy standards has gained momentum in recent months; as a market-driven climate solution it has garnered significant attention in Congress.

The new C2ES report finds that clean energy standards:

  • Support and promote several important benefits of clean electricity generation, including:
    • Environmental and public health protections,
    • Fuel diversification, new clean electricity industries, and
    • Decarbonization of other sectors;
  • Provide more flexibility for utilities to meet ambitious clean electricity targets by offering more options for states and regions with less renewable electricity potential; and
  • Can be more efficient when credit trading between participants is allowed.

The report will be the subject of C2ES webinar and discussion of clean energy standards policies at 1:00 PM ET today with C2ES Senior Energy Fellow and author Doug Vine, C2ES President Bob Perciasepe, Northbridge Group Director Bruce Phillips, Climate Change and Environment Policy Director for U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) Nikki Roy, and National Conference of State Legislatures Policy Associate Laura Shields.

To Join the Webinar, Register here.

1:00 PM ET, Today—November 20th




About C2ES: The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to forge practical solutions to climate change. Our mission is to advance strong policy and action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, promote clean energy, and strengthen resilience to climate impacts. Learn more at