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The ACP on Biden's clean-grid goal

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The head of America's main clean energy trade group says President Biden's ambitious goal of decarbonizing the electric grid by 2035 isn't feasible.

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, and away from fossil fuels.

  • "Not only is that not possible, that wouldn't be good public policy," Grumet told Axios Pro Climate Policy over lunch last 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.
  • "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.

What they're saying: "The clean energy transition is moving faster than ever before but not nearly fast enough to solve the climate crisis," ACP said in a statement.

  • "Goals are important but actions and outcomes are what matter. An honest assessment of the challenge is the only way to motivate the policy progress and investment required for success."

Editor's note: This story was updated throughout to better reflect ACP's stance on Biden's 2035 policy and the speed of the energy transition.

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