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EGEB: Joe Biden — $25/hr minimum wage for green energy workers, Yang’s 5-point plan, more

In today’s Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB):

  • Joe Biden says ‘we’re doing’ $25-per-hour minimum wage for renewable energy workers.
  • Andrew Yang releases his five-point sustainability plan.
  • Renewables exceed 20.1% of US electricity in the first half of 2019.
  • The London Underground’s Northern line will heat north London homes during the winter.

EGEB: A daily technical, financial, and political review/analysis of important green energy news.

Democratic presidential front-runner Joe Biden campaigned in New Hampshire over the weekend.

At Keene State College, a woman asked Biden about his climate plan. In a video on C-Span (below), a woman asks:

What about $25-an-hour minimum wage for renewable energy workers to move them out of fossil fuels?

And Biden replied:

Sure, that’s what we’re doing! Come on! Take a look at the fossil fuel plan we put together!

Biden released his climate plan in June. The plan did not mention a specific minimum wage increase for green energy workers, but states: “We must ensure jobs created as part of the clean energy revolution offer good wages, benefits, and worker protections.”

Yang’s five-point plan

Now we move on to another Democratic presidential candidate’s plan for implementing green energy to combat climate change.

Andrew Yang says he’d spend $4.87 trillion over 20 years, which isn’t nearly as aggressive as Bernie Sanders’ $16.3 trillion over 15 years, but he’s not messing around — and he’s certainly embracing green energy. (The moving to higher ground thing is downright depressing.)

Here’s his five-point plan:

  1. Build a sustainable economy by transitioning away from fossil fuels to renewable energy, upgrading our infrastructure, and improving the way we farm and use land. Public financing options will allow individuals to make the right decisions for their families.
  2. Build a sustainable world. The United States, throughout history, has led the world in times of crisis. We’re the most entrepreneurial country in the history of the world. It’s time to activate the American imagination and work ethic to provide the innovation and technology that will power the rest of the world.
  3. Move our people to higher ground. Natural disasters and other effects of climate change are already causing damage and death. We need to adapt our country to this new reality.
  4. Reverse the damage we’ve done. Research needs to be done on removing carbon from our atmosphere, cooling the planet and rejuvenating ecosystems.
  5. Hold future administrations accountable. We need to pass a constitutional amendment that creates a duty on the federal and state governments to be stewards for the environment.

Yang wants a “zero-emissions requirement for all cars by 2030, a 100% renewable electric grid by 2035 (it’s not clear if he considers nuclear a ‘renewable’), net-zero emissions from transportation by 2040, and net-zero emissions overall by 2049,” according to Vox. He’d also set a carbon tax of $40 per ton, which would rise to $100 per ton.

US renewables 2019 report card

The numbers are in from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) on use of renewables in the United States. According to Renewables Now, “Renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, wind) accounted for 20.11%, or a fifth, of net domestic electrical generation during the first half of 2019.”

So that puts green energy usage up from 19.9% a year earlier. That also puts green energy within a hair of the use of nuclear energy, which is at 20.14% (and coal is dropping).

Baby steps, but we’re going in the right direction.

Harnessing London Underground heat

If you’ve ever taken the Tube in London in the summertime, you’ll know how stiflingly hot it gets down there. So it makes perfect sense to put that “waste heat” to good use by piping it to warm homes. As the Guardian explains:

The sweltering temperatures on the Tube’s Northern line will soon begin keeping homes in Islington, north London, cozy through the colder months, under a scheme to harness the heat from the Underground.

The Islington heat network already keeps about 700 homes warm by channeling heat created in the Bunhill Energy Centre, which generates electricity, into local council housing, schools, and a leisure center.

The next phase of the project, which is due to be completed in the coming months, will extend the network to a further 450 homes.

This is a great way to use cheap, low-carbon heat from the Underground. “The Greater London Authority (GLA) estimates there is enough heat wasted in London to meet 38% of the city’s heating demands.”

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Avatar for Michelle Lewis Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in St. Petersburg, Florida. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at Check out her personal blog.