• Charles Hinckley

Trump, Biden, and the Future of Energy

Updated: Dec 19, 2020

November 7: “Ignore the President’s rhetoric for a moment; Donald Trump is the greenest President in U.S. history measured by the pace at which the nation’s electricity grid has de-carbonized during his first term in office. More wind and solar generating capacity will have been deployed in the four years ending December 31st, than in the prior six years under President Obama. The Trump administration is also overseeing the fastest retirement of coal-fired power plants in U.S. history. U.S. Presidents come and go, but wind and solar (and BEVs and Hydrogen) are here to stay owing to declining unit costs and sustainability”. (Coster, et. al, JPM, 26 Oct 2020)

Having first started working in wind power in 1992 at KENETECH, I assure you for most of the renewable energy industry’s existence in the US that downright Administration opposition would have killed the industry. In the face of various coal support efforts, solar tariffs, and Administration leadership away from renewables, the industry thrived on the merits. I have always enjoyed working in this sector, and I am more excited today than at any time for renewable power, transportation electrification and transformation, and clean tech. The Future of Energy is hugely exciting. I hope all the hard-working and dedicated men and woman that took the industry so far, in the face of substantial odds, have a sense of considerable accomplishment.

I read in the press that Biden is not expected to have big impacts on wind and solar, etc. I could not disagree more. Firstly let's face it, the Trump Administration was violently anti climate change, renewables, or even modernizing our transportation system. Let's not kid ourselves, federal agencies affect what we as an industry do. It is one thing to have no active support, but subversion would likely eventually have its intended effect. Secondly, there are vast helpful actions that can be taken administratively, sorting out the FERC vacancies, dealing with rules such as vehicle efficiency standards, etc. More on this contrarian view will follow.

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