Renewable energy will keep growing in the next few years as costs drop and coal use continues to fall, despite U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s pledge to revive the fossil fuel, investors and analysts said. Trump has said he wants to boost the U.S. coal, oil and shale industries and has threatened to leave a global climate deal called the Paris Agreement, which aims to phase out net greenhouse gas emissions by the second half of the century
One reason is timing. The biggest economic incentives for clean energy are federal tax credits for solar and wind projects. Both were set to expire at the end of last year, prompting a surge in investments as companies raced to get in under the deadline. In December, Congress unexpectedly extended both credits (for solar until 2021 and for wind until 2019) as part of a deal to lift the 40-year-old ban on U.S. oil exports. It’s not clear that Trump will try to persuade Congress to repeal the extensions. Wind power is especially popular across the Midwest, a Republican stronghold; in many cases it’s become cheaper than other sources of grid power.
The state-by-state tussle over rooftop solar has arrived in Arkansas, where the future of net metering will play out over the next 12 to 18 months. State lawmakers got the ball rolling last year when they passed legislation to adjust aspects of Arkansas’ net-metering regime, which uses a retail rate to credit customers for excess power sent to the grid. The Arkansas Public Service Commission (PSC) is now working through a two-part proceeding on the matter.
More than 57,000 people have signed a petition asking the White House to prevent Myron Ebell from leading the transition team for President-elect Donald Trump’s U.S. EPA. The White House has agreed to provide an official written response to the We the People petition within 60 days if it gets 100,000 signatures by Dec. 9.
Energy and environmental agencies are gearing up for a massive power shift between the Obama and Trump administrations. In an email sent to U.S. EPA staff Thursday and obtained by E&E News, Chief of Staff Matt Fritz said EPA has been preparing for months to ensure a “smooth, seamless and efficient” transition as it gets ready for the imminent arrival of President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team.
The tax incentives were extended by the Republican-controlled Congress in December 2015 with bipartisan support. “The renewable-energy tax credits are pretty firmly in place,” says Rob Gramlich, senior vice president of government and public affairs at the American Wind Energy Association, an industry trade group. In August, Senator Charles Grassley, an Iowa Republican, vowed to protect the wind tax credit if Trump became president and tried to scrap it. “If he wants to do away with it, he’ll have to get a bill through Congress, and he’ll do it over my dead body,” Grassley said.
France and the United Nations on Tuesday stepped up warnings to U.S. President-elect Donald Trump about the risks of quitting a 2015 global plan to combat climate change, saying a historic shift from fossil fuels is unstoppable French President Francois Hollande, addressing almost 200 nations meeting in Morocco on ways to slow global warming, said that inaction would be “disastrous for future generations and it would be dangerous for peace”.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday indicated he would stick to plans for a national price on carbon despite the U.S. election win of Donald Trump, who opposes measures to fight climate change. If Trump walks away from international agreements to cut greenhouse gases, the carbon price could add to Canadian firms’ costs and make them less competitive, according to critics.
In Africa, many countries are looking at solar and wind as a quick way to bolster generation capacity by leapfrogging older and dirtier sources of energy. Renewable energy could also bring diversification to nations dangerously dependent on a single source of electricity, like Malawi and Zambia, which have experienced crippling blackouts because of a severe drought that lowered water levels at hydroelectricdams.
Microsoft Corp. committed to its largest wind-power purchase to date with a deal to buy 237 megawatts of capacity from projects in Wyoming and Kansas. Allianz Risk Transfer AG’s Bloom Wind Project in Kansas and Black Hills Corp.’s Happy Jack and Silver Sage wind farms in Wyoming will provide all of the power needed by a data center in Cheyenne, Wyoming, under two long-term contracts cover, according a Microsoft blog post Monday. Terms weren’t disclosed.