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ACP is abandoning Biden's clean-grid goal

Illustration of a hand holding a dart on fire.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The head of America's main clean energy trade group is shooting down President Biden's ambitious goal of decarbonizing the electric grid by 2035.

Why it matters: American Clean Power is declaring one of Biden's signature climate priorities all but dead.

What's happening: Jason Grumet, CEO of the American Clean Power Association, said that the Biden administration is being too ambitious in trying to convert the country's electricity network to clean sources of energy in the next 10 years.

  • "Not only is that not possible, that wouldn't be good public policy," Grumet told Axios Pro colleague Nick Sobczyk over lunch this week.

Be smart: That's a strong statement from the head of the group representing the interests of the biggest clean energy companies in the U.S.

  • It also marks a potential rift between American Clean Power and a host of other green energy trade groups and advocates.

Zoom in: Grumet contends that the Biden administration's goals are unrealistic and therefore out of step with the private sector.

  • "The rest of the energy industry has clearly appreciated that we are not coming at this with this imagination that we are going to have a 100% carbon-free grid by 2035, which would be an expression that they somehow have to leave the field," Grumet says.

Context: The argument isn't quite an about-face for American Clean Power. The organization in 2021 called Biden's clean energy aspirations a "laudable goal" but stopped short of endorsing the effort.

  • The group also did not join dozens of private companies, trade groups, and advocacy organizations in calling for a carbon-free grid by 2035.

Between the lines: Grumet has been bringing oil and gas companies into the American Clean Power tent — and wants the group to prepare some kind of unified energy bill for Congress next year.

  • "As our industry hits big time with incredible ambitions of scale, we're bumping into a lot of the same problems that the rest of the energy industry [faces]," Grumet says. "So there is an energy-sector-wide community now. "

Yes, but: Research has shown that the U.S. can decarbonize 90% of its electric grid with off-the-shelf tech.

💭 Our thought bubble: We're perplexed why ACP's chief would take his foot off the accelerator — especially as groups like the American Petroleum Institute show no signs of ceding ground.

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