Among the millions of rural Americans who voted for incoming president Donald Trump, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s legacy of hard-nosed regulation earned it a reputation as a jobs killer – a fact that outgoing EPA Director Gina McCarthy says could prove to be one of her biggest regrets. “We tried to change the outreach and messaging in rural America in a number of ways, but … has it changed the rhetoric that people hear? It hasn’t,” McCarthy said in an interview this week at EPA headquarters in Washington. “We couldn’t get it, but I wish we had.”
There’s good news from the Department of Energy (DOE) today. DOE’s annual report projecting the future of energy in America shows wind power capacity will double from 76 gigawatts (GW) today to 152 GW by the year 2023. However, new wind deployment drops off significantly in EIA’s scenarios after 2023. This drop-off appears to be driven by an anomaly in EIA’s assumptions about future cost reductions.
What isn’t well known, in Iowa or elsewhere, is that one of the biggest winds at green energy’s back is coming from the world’s second-richest man. Buffett and his holding company, Berkshire Hathaway have spent more than $17 billion on renewable energy since 2004. Two years ago at the Edison Electric Institute’s annual power conference Buffett pledged to nearly double that.This year Berkshire is on track to spend almost $1 billion on its Iowa wind facilities alone—though Buffett admits he himself has never done more than drive past a wind farm. In an interview in November, Buffett told Fortune, “On the subject of hamburgers, I am an expert. Wind, I know less.”
Given what President-elect Donald J. Trump has said about his energy strategy — he favors coal and wants to end federal subsidies to the clean energy industry — does it still make sense to invest in wind, solar and other alternative sources of power? The answer is an emphatic yes, according to investment advisers, who say clean energy companies will continue to thrive during a Trump administration, regardless of what the president says or does. The sector has become as much about getting returns on investments and catching the next technological boom as it is about reducing greenhouse gases and helping the environment. And clean energy is creating jobs in every state, not just the ones that have oil or gas in the ground. Even the most politically conservative states, like Kansas and Iowa, are leaders in wind power and are likely to continue investing in it.
Senate leadership is prepared to confirm Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt as Environmental Protection Agency administrator with meager, or even nonexistent, Democratic support, top Republicans told Bloomberg BNA. Both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) predicted Pruitt’s confirmation, despite an ongoing outcry from Democrats over the nominee’s skepticism of the human connection to climate change.
Governors Call on Congress to Develop National Offshore Wind Energy Policy
An obscure Washington policy group that opposes almost any government aid for renewable energy has emerged as an influential force in shaping Donald Trump’s plans to dismantle Obama administration climate initiatives. The tiny Institute for Energy Research and its advocacy arm, the American Energy Alliance, work from an office decorated with an oversized photo of an oil derrick in a nondescript building in downtown Washington.
“Renewable energy has reached a tipping point – it now constitutes the best chance to reverse global warming,” said Michael Drexler, Head of Long Term Investing, Infrastructure and Development at the World Economic Forum. “Solar and wind have just become very competitive, and costs continue to fall. It is not only a commercially viable option, but an outright compelling investment opportunity with long-term, stable, inflation-protected returns.”
States continue to help make renewable energy a steadily growing – and necessary – segment of the U.S. energy market. Lawmakers in Washington would do well to emulate their counterparts in state capitols across the country, and recognize the role renewable energy can play in creating jobs and diversifying our nation’s energy supply.
The economic benefits of state renewable portfolio standards greatly outweigh the costs, according to a new report. There are now 29 US states that have adopted renewable portfolio standards targets, and they are benefiting as a result. As it stands currently, state renewable portfolio standards are an important driver of renewable energy generation growth in the US — so the new findings are very worth taking note of, especially as the argument used by most critics of the standards is that the raise electricity costs.