WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States will struggle to meet President Joe Biden’s climate goal to decarbonize the power grid by 2035 as technology and policy take time to develop, natural resources consultancy Wood Mackenzie said on Thursday.
Biden, who took office in January, has reversed many of his predecessor Donald Trump’s energy policies, rejoined the Paris agreement on climate and set a goal of making the U.S. power grid run on 100% clean energy by 2035.
But the U.S. grid will more likely get only 66% of its energy from emissions free sources like wind, solar, green hydrogen and nuclear power by then as technologies take time to develop, Wood Mackenzie said in a report woodmac.com.
Biden’s goal is still important in prompting efforts to fight emissions that cause climate change, said David Brown, Wood Mackenzie’s Americas head of markets and transitions.
“Even reaching for that target is a real positive, and it’s going to push companies, and markets, to a place that will be a net benefit for carbon emissions and will push the energy transition forward,” Brown said.
Technologies that will take time include making hydrogen from power generated by wind and solar farms for use in synthetic fuels or to burn in industrial boilers, and capturing carbon emissions from fossil fuel plants before they reach the atmosphere. A lack of transmission lines to get electricity from clean energy in rural areas to population centers will also need to be overcome, the report said.
In a Reuters analysis on Wednesday, a Biden administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity, touted Biden’s progress so far.
“We can do two things at once: achieve our climate goals while ensuring the energy transition is one that takes into account the interests of the middle class, who experience changes in energy prices very directly, and meet global energy needs as the economy recovers from the pandemic,” the official said.