Bernie Sanders has blazed a trail of bold political positions such as free college education and Medicare for all. The progressive presidential candidate has also set his sights on the issue of climate change, and his proposal to combat global warming is equally ambitious. Sanders’ presidential policy platform includes its own version of the so-called “Green New Deal,” an ambitious plan embraced by progressives to combat global warming and stimulate massive job creation at the same time.
Calling climate change a “global emergency,” Sanders proposes to transform the nation’s energy system to 100% renewable energy while creating 20 million jobs. Not surprisingly, Sanders proposes to achieve these ambitious goals with the help of a not-so-small public investment. Included in that investment would be an expansion of the four existing federal Power Marketing Administrations (PMAs) and the creation of a fifth.
Currently, the Bonneville Power Administration, the Southeastern Power Administration, the Southwestern Power Administration and the Western Area Power Administration generate and distribute power to small communities and rural areas in the regions they serve. A fifth PMA would be created to services states that are not currently covered.
The plan will invest $1.52 trillion on renewable energy and another $852 on energy storage to increase the capacity of the existing PMAs to generate more than enough wind, solar, energy storage and geothermal power plants to satisfy the nation’s demand for electricity.
In addition, stricter emission standards and a federal renewable energy standard would compel utilities to retire carbon-emitting, coal and gas fired facilities, and instead buy power for the federal PMAs or other renewable sources.
Sanders' plan proposes to reach 100% renewables in the electricity and transportation sectors no later than 2030 and complete decarbonization of the economy by 2050.