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We’re leading an all-out national mobilization to defeat the climate crisis.

Join our work today to help us build a thriving and just clean energy future. 

Four Things You Need to Know about Achieving 100 Percent Clean Power

How can the U.S. achieve 100 percent clean power by 2035? We hosted a deep-dive conversation with some top brass from across the climate movement.

Sam Ricketts, Lissa Lynch, Manish Bapna, Leah Stokes, and Sen. Tina Smith on a Zoom call.

Last updated May 23, 2023.

It’s 2023 and halfway through President Joe Biden’s first term. More than two years ago, candidate Joe Biden made a promise to the American people: The United States would achieve 100 percent clean electricity by 2035. 

The Inflation Reduction Act was a historic step on that mission, but the work isn’t finished yet. We just released a powerful new roadmap with NRDC that outlines the way forward to achieve President Biden’s goal by leveraging federal executive action, robust implementation of the IRA, and strong state leadership. 

To break down key findings from our new report, Evergreen co-founder Sam Ricketts hosted a deep-dive conversation with some top brass from across the climate movement (as well as more than 300 activists):

The discussion was wide-ranging, covering the role of federal agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to achieve 100 percent clean power, the need to prioritize environmental justice on the way, the pollution gap left by the IRA, and more. 

Here are four key insights from the conversation about the road to 100 percent clean electricity: 

1. 100 percent clean electricity is key to cutting carbon pollution across the entire economy 

When we talk about cleaning up the electricity sector, we’re actually not just talking about one sector. It’s a domino effect: If we can power our grid with clean, reliable energy instead of coal and gas, we can take major steps towards decarbonizing up to 80 percent of our economy

As Dr. Stokes said during the discussion, “If we have clean electricity–100 percent clean electricity–we can use it to power our homes, our cars, even parts of heavy industry with that clean power, rather than using things like oil, or fossil gas, or coal… That is how we decarbonize about three-quarters of our current carbon pollution with clean electricity plus electrification.”

Clean electricity: It’s powerful stuff! 

2. We already have the tools we need today 

Get this: We not only need to reach 100 percent clean power–but we already have all the tools we need to get it done. Yes, really. We’re not in some far out science-fiction movie, where a scrappy group of scientists have the space of a 90-minute film to conceive and create a groundbreaking new technology to save the world from certain doom just in the nick of time. 

As Manish so aptly put it, “We don’t need any magic bullets. We don’t need any new technologies. We have the tools” to achieve President Biden’s clean electricity goals today. And we wrote the policy roadmap on exactly how our leaders can most effectively deploy them.

3. But EPA and President Biden must act quickly 

So, 100 percent clean electricity is key in the fight against climate change and we have the technologies to make it a reality. But frankly, EPA and President Biden aren’t moving fast enough—particularly on the most effective rules he can use: 111(b) and 111(d). 



UPDATE: In May 2023, EPA released its proposed carbon pollution standards for new and existing power plants. Read our analysis here

These vital rules are the Biden administration’s most significant opportunity to clean up power sector carbon pollution and build on the investments in the Inflation Reduction Act. They could ensure fossil fuel power plants can no longer spew unlimited amounts of greenhouse gas pollutants into the air, harming our communities and the planet.  

These proposed rules mark just the start of the regulatory process—now, we must work to strengthen and finalize these important standards as quickly as possible



What are 111(b) and 111(d) rules? We created an entire explainer that goes into greater detail, but essentially these two EPA rules would cut carbon pollution by setting stringent pollution standards for new and existing power plants. New NRDC modeling in our report finds that the IRA will lead to significant reductions in power-sector carbon pollution by 2030. But the IRA on its own is not enough to achieve President Biden’s power sector targets of 100 percent clean electricity by 2035 and 80 percent by 2030.

The good news? The modeling shows we can very nearly reach that 2030 power sector target with the combination of the IRA and these strong carbon pollution standards for new and existing power plants. 

Unfortunately, EPA isn’t moving fast enough. The agency is falling further behind on these key rules, as well as several others that target the power sector. It’s time for the Biden administration to ramp up the urgency. Sign on now and help us turn up the pressure on the administration to go further, faster on these key rules immediately

4. State leadership will also be key

Federal action is paramount on the path to 100 percent clean power. But governors and state lawmakers have a major role to play in building our clean energy economy, too. For one, much of the IRA’s reductions, including through tax credits, require implementation in the states. It’s also vital for states to advance 100 percent clean electricity standards (CES) and complementary policies, with ambitious timelines and strong interim targets.

One state that is helping to lead the way is Senator Tina Smith’s own Minnesota, which has passed a CES through the state legislature and the bill is expected to be signed into law at any moment by Governor Tim Walz. As Senator Smith said during the conversation, “This is the kind of local leadership we need all around the country in order to hit our goals." She goes on to note that these types of policies are popular with voters in Minnesota, as the governor and new state legislators campaigned and won on climate action like this. Now, they are delivering for voters.

Take Action Now 

To take a deeper dive into what it will take for the U.S. to achieve 100 percent clean electricity by 2035, be sure to download our new report with NRDC. As Senator Smith said as she signed off from the discussion, “Listen closely to how NRDC and Evergreen are talking about how we need to hold all of us accountable to make sure that the promise of the Inflation Reduction Act–and the power that we have using executive action and state action–can be realized.”

One of the key takeaways in the paper is that EPA must go further, faster–particularly on power sector rules like 111(b) and 111(d). Right now, Evergreen is gathering signatures to pressure President Biden and EPA Administrator Regan to finalize these two rules, as well as eight others that are key to cutting pollution in the power sector.  

Enter your information below and we’ll direct you to an action page where you can sign on and raise your voice with more than 25,000 other activists on this critical issue.