‘Climate Wednesday’: How President Biden intends to spur yet further renewables growth in the US

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Share on email
Email
The flurry of Executive Orders occured within President Biden's first week in office. Image: Adam Schulz/Biden for President.

Having deemed yesterday “Climate Wednesday”, US President Joe Biden signed a raft of Executive Orders designed to ratchet up the US’ efforts to combat climate change and accelerate the growth of its domestic renewables sector.

And those measures have been warmly received by climate groups in the country, praising the President for taking swift action in addressing matters prioritised by the clean energy industry.

Having campaigned on measures to tackle climate change as a matter of urgency, the newly-elected President signed Executive Orders designed to double down on the US’ commitment to building a greener economy yesterday (27 January 2021).

Those orders relating to the solar industry in the US feed into a commitment from the Biden Administration to ensure that the country has a carbon neutral power system by 2035.

Among the orders signed are a directive to all federal agencies that they must procure “carbon pollution-free electricity” alongside zero-emission vehicles, paving the way for renewables PPAs to feed directly into government electricity procurement.

Furthermore, the order – as was expected – directs the Secretary of the Interior to pause new leases for oil and natural gas projects on public lands and offshore waters. The Trump Administration had all but stopped issuing leases for renewable energy projects on public lands, a matter referenced by trade bodies during last year’s election campaign.

Federal agencies must also act to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies “as consistent with applicable law” and identify new ways in order to help the commercialisation and deployment of clean energy technologies and infrastructure.

Speaking to the press ahead of signing the Executive Orders, Biden moved to intrinsically link climate action with job creation.

“Today is “Climate Day” at the White House and — which means that today is “Jobs Day” at the White House.  We’re talking about American innovation, American products, American labour,” the President said.

“When we think of renewable energy, we see American manufacturing, American workers racing to lead the global market… Transforming the American electric sector to produce power without carbon pollution will be a tremendous spur to job creation and economic competitiveness in the 21st century, not to mention the benefits to our health and to our environment.”

And Biden reserved a parting shot at the previous administration for its support of polluting forms of energy.

“Unlike previous administrations, I don’t think the federal government should give handouts to big oil to the tune of US$40 billion in fossil fuel subsidies. We’re going to take money and invest it in clean energy jobs in America — millions of jobs in wind, solar, and carbon capture,” he said.

Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO at the Solar Energy Industries Association, praised Biden for addressing several of the domestic solar industry’s priorities.

“The order’s focus on environmental justice is also particularly important in this moment of climate reckoning. This challenge presents an opportunity for economic growth and prosperity, but we must ensure that growth is felt in communities that have been impacted by environmental racism and have historically been shut out from those benefits.

“The president’s order will ensure that 40% of the overall benefits from federal climate investments go to disadvantaged communities and establishes key benchmarks and tracking tools to make that happen,” she said.

Read Next

April 9, 2021
The US’ fleet of solar and wind generation capacity is set to almost triple over the next decade, but even this is not enough to meet President Biden’s ambitious decarbonisation targets, according to a recent BloombergNEF report.
April 9, 2021
A draft proposal put forward by China’s National Development and Reform Commission could see subsidies for new solar projects phased out, starting this year.
April 9, 2021
Solar and storage provider Sunworks has acquired installer Solcius in a deal worth US$51.8 million.
April 8, 2021
The US Department of the Treasury has revealed how new renewable tax incentives will be paid for by a tax raid on the fossil fuel industry, eliminating subsidies for oil and gas companies.
PV Tech Premium
April 8, 2021
After a challenging year, India’s solar sector stands primed for something of a rebound. But a host of familiar issues, from the perilous state of DISCOMs to regulatory uncertainty, run the risk of stymying future growth. Vinay Rustagi, managing director at consultancy Bridge to India, talks to PV Tech about the future prospects for Indian solar.
April 8, 2021
Utility group Black Hills Energy has signed a 15-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with solar energy company 174 Power Global for its first large-scale solar power project in Colorado, US.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Solar Media Events
April 13, 2021
Solar Media Events
April 20, 2021
Upcoming Webinars
April 28, 2021
4:00 - 4:30 PM CET