Both before and during the campaign, Trump has criticized energy policies designed to help wind and solar power compete with fossil fuels. As recently as last month, he called the two leading renewable energy technologies “very problematic,” “very expensive” and, in the case of wind power, harmful to wildlife. Industry officials have worked hard to counter those arguments, saying renewables have become an integral part of the U.S. energy mix and will continue to grow as consumer demand and environmental concerns mount over emissions from traditional power plants.
The Obama administration on Thursday took a major step toward encouraging development of renewable energy on federal lands in six Western states by establishing a competitive bidding process similar to how oil and gas leases are awarded. Solar and wind developers have long sought to unlock the potential of millions of acres of federal lands in the U.S. West, but have primarily sited projects on private lands because building there is quicker.
The Interior Department today finalized a new rule establishing a competitive leasing process for renewable energy projects on federal lands, a move the agency says will ensure future administrations continue to advance green energy projects. The final rule unveiled today by Interior Secretary Sally Jewell is the agency’s top remaining renewable energy task to be completed before President Obama leaves office in January.
While vowing to “cancel” the international Paris climate accord Obama championed, Trump would also rearrange domestic energy and environmental priorities. He wants to open up federal lands to oil and gas drilling and coal mining. He wants to eliminate regulations he calls needless. He would scrap proposed regulations for tighter methane controls on domestic drillers. And he wants to shrink the role of the Environmental Protection Agency to a mostly advisory one and pull back the Clean Power Plan, Obama’s proposed plan to push utilities toward lower carbon emissions.
An unstoppable shift to a cleaner energy economy is underway, and the fundamentals of wind energy in America are strong. With bipartisan support for long-term policy firmly in place, and a near-record number of wind farms are under construction, our industry is saving consumers money by connecting low-cost wind power to more parts of the country.
Voters in Washington state rejected a proposal to implement America’s first carbon tax by a wide margin on Election Day, in a stinging rebuke to climate hawks seeking a breakthrough in one of the country’s most environmentally conscious states. The result left carbon-tax supporters to pick up the pieces following a bruising campaign that divided the state’s environmentalists and local Democrats, many of whom questioned the plan’s fiscal impact and lack of funding for renewables.
Florida voters rejected a controversial constitutional amendment for rooftop solar last night. The defeat deals a blow to the state’s electric companies and associated trade groups, which dumped roughly $30 million directly and indirectly into the measure to see it through. It also sets up additional battles between Florida’s utilities and clean energy groups during next year’s legislative session.
The Clean Power Plan is “in critical condition,” said Michael Gerrard, faculty director of Columbia University’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law. But how, exactly, the Trump administration could go about eliminating the Clean Power Plan is still very much linked to litigation that is pending in federal court, legal experts said toda
What has been a small transition operation is slated to expand quickly now that Trump has clinched the presidency, and team members will soon be dispatched into federal agencies to interview officials, gather information and prepare detailed policy agendas. Meanwhile, shortlists of names for top Cabinet posts are being compiled, and interest groups, members of Congress and others will continue to press their preferences for key jobs.
The upcoming political shift may also dim prospects for the energy conference committee, which is aiming to strike a deal on what would be the first new major reform law in a decade. Before the election, ClearView Energy Partners LLC recently said there was a 60 percent chance that negotiators would come up with a compromise similar to the Senate’s version, S. 2012.