Newly minted President Donald Trump (R) struck a strident note in his first minutes as President last when he removed all mention of renewable energy from the White House website. This could illustrate a cloudier future for solar power—even as prices hit record lows and record highs for installations.
Within minutes of being sworn in as the President Trump’s transition team revamped the White House website acrimoniously removing any mention of solar or wind power and also stating his office would eliminate the Climate Action Plan and the Waters of the U.S. rule. The actions were met with anger and frustration from the conservation community, which observed that his actions will result in more pollution and that he is not acting in the best interest of families in the US.
Even before Trump took official hold of office, Wyoming lawmakers introduced legislation that would make it harder for renewable energy to compete in the state by proposing fines on wind and solar power—making it easier for coal-fired power to compete. It’s what’s being called a reverse renewable portfolio standard. Thus far it’s unprecedented. While it’s not law yet, the legislators proposed the law on the first day of the legislative session. It could herald future attacks on renewable energy in some states.
All this comes on the backdrop of record gains for solar power and renewables and would represent artificial means of making fossil-fuel based energy cost-competitive with the increasingly lower costs of renewable energy.
Last week a new International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) report showed that the costs of solar power have fallen 50 percent in the last six years and could fall another 50 percent to 60 percent over the next decade. The IRENA report anticipated that fully 1,760 gigawatts (GWs) of solar power could be installed in across the world by 2030.
Meanwhile, the PV Market Alliance showed that solar power had a record year in 2016. When all the figures are in it anticipated that fully 75 GWs of solar power were installed across the world in 2016. That’s 50 percent more than installed in 2016, it said.
While Wyoming is taking a decidedly anti-solar stance, other states like New Jersey and New York North Carolina are heralding their solar efforts. For instance, in 2016 New York’s NY Green Bank was able to turn $250 million in investments into a total of $927 million in investments with nearly two-thirds coming from private investors.
New Jersey announced that it has installed more than 2 GWs of solar power. That’s across nearly 66,000 installed projects in the state. Similarly, in North Carolina, its largest utility Duke Energy, has installed nearly 1 GW of solar power in the last two years.
Many utilities have protested that high amounts of renewable energy in their network will result in high prices and unreliable energy, one Hawaiian island, Kauaʻi, will reach 50 percent renewable energy in 2017. The utility in the state will rely partly on two giant energy storage projects. The latest of which, a 28-megawatt solar photovoltaic and a 20-MW energy storage system, was unveiled last week. The utility there said the prices from the projects would be cheaper than what it would pay for power from oil-based electric generation.Tweet