The renewable energy sector has been cheering this week about the clean energy incentives included in the omnibus Congress passed. And it’s even more optimistic about the prospects under a Biden administration, given the president-elect’s plans for a $2 trillion effort to put the country on a path toward eliminating greenhouse gases from the power grid by 2035 and for the overall economy by 2050.
Though that pledge will face hurdles in Congress, especially if Republicans maintain control of the Senate, Biden can still make moves to benefit the renewables industry that has steadily grown over the last four years — despite President Donald Trump’s trade tariffs, lease hikes and frequent attacks on the industry.
“The realization — the market’s realization, the financial community’s realization and the customer’s realization — that we are moving toward the clean energy economy has already happened,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association, a solar trade group. “But the pace of that transition is still what’s up for grabs.”
Biden is expected to speed the adoption of electric vehicles and boost power line transmission networks that will open up new opportunities for renewable power generators, analysts said. He’s pledged to invest $400 billion in clean energy development and research over 10 years and work with states to deploy more than 500,000 new public electric vehicle charging spots by the end of 2030.
Simply a change in the messaging from the White House will benefit renewables, said Ben Serrurier, electricity practice manager at the clean energy think tank Rocky Mountain Institute, since many red states had been wary of touting their their home-grown solar and wind industries over the past four years to risk triggering an outburst from Trump, who once claimed the sound of wind turbines caused cancer and that solar panels were expensive and fragile.