Rep. Clarke and Sen. Gillibrand Introduce Bill to Replace High-Polluting ‘Peaker’ Plants

EDF statement from Elizabeth Gore, Senior Vice President, Political Affairs

May 16, 2021
Ben Schneider, (202) 572-3279, bschneider@edf.org

Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-NY) and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) introduced legislation today that will pave the way for clean energy sources to replace “peaker” plants — power plants brought online during high energy demand periods that are some of the dirtiest sources of energy in America, and are particularly harmful to communities who often live nearby.

Across the country, peaker power plants are brought online when energy demand is surging, such as during extremely hot or cold stretches of weather. They are inefficient and spew pollution that increases the risk of serious heart and lung disease. Many of these plants are located in communities of color, low-income communities and other communities already overburdened from other sources of local air pollution.

The Promoting Energy Alternatives is Key to Emission Reductions (PEAKER) Act of 2021  would take several important steps to replace these toxic plants with clean energy sources. It would:

  • Establish a new 10% additional Investment Tax Credit for battery storage and renewable electricity to replace the need for dirty peaker plants in disadvantaged communities
  • Create a new $10 billion grant program at the Department of Energy for clean energy projects that will reduce or eliminate the need for existing dirty peaker plants; and
  • Require a nationwide assessment to identify the location of each dirty peaker plant in the U.S., including whether they are located in or adjacent to disadvantaged communities, and also to determine the quantity and type of pollution each plant is producing.

“Shifting our energy sources towards clean energy is not only essential for any effective climate strategy – it is necessary to protect the health of people in communities of color and low-income communities that face the worst health threats from polluting fossil fuel plants,” said Elizabeth Gore, EDF Senior Vice President, Political Affairs. “We can and must replace toxic peaker plants as part of a comprehensive approach to protecting human health, advancing environmental justice and fighting climate change. We are grateful for Sen. Gillibrand and Rep. Clarke’s leadership on this important legislation.”

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