Obama’s State of the Union highlights the need of congressional support for the renewables industry

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Share on email
Email

Over the past few weeks, GOP candidates have had been the headliners in American political news, but January 24 saw President Obama take the main stage with his State of the Union address. While the President touched on various topics, many of which will be pertinent to the November election, the cleantech industry was acknowledged, with topics such as the Solyndra debacle and the trade case with solar Chinese solar modules commented upon.

Overall, President Obama appeared to be on the side of the US cleantech industry. Jesse Pichel, equity analyst for Jefferies & Company, even noted that the likelihood of a settlement to the Chinese module trade case seems quite low. The President noted that his administration had doubled the trade cases against China, and acknowledged his agreement that heavily subsidized foreign manufactures impede the ideal notion of “fair” trade. “I will go anywhere in the world to open new markets for American products. And I will not stand by when our competitors don't play by the rules. We've brought trade cases against China at nearly twice the rate as the last administration – and it's made a difference. Over a thousand Americans are working today because we stopped a surge in Chinese tires. But we need to do more. It's not right when another country lets our movies, music, and software be pirated. It's not fair when foreign manufacturers have a leg up on ours only because they're heavily subsidized. Tonight, I'm announcing the creation of a Trade Enforcement Unit that will be charged with investigating unfair trade practices in countries like China,” pledged President Obama.

The President vowed to increase energy standards while increasing clean energy purchases by the government and went so far as to directly address Congress by calling upon them to pass clean-energy tax credits and other incentives that would help manufacturers make their facilities more energy-efficient. However, no specific details on how to achieve this, or what type of incentives should be offered, were commented upon.

Perhaps one of the most remarked upon solar topics during the past year was the fall of Solyndra, a subject which the President finally addressed – somewhat. Pichel notes that President Obama defended the DOE loan guarantee to the now bankrupt Solyndra and called for a “doubling down of a clean energy industry in the US that will not cede to China or Germany because the country refused to make the same commitment.”

“This country needs an all-out, all-of-the-above strategy that develops every available source of American energy—a strategy that's cleaner, cheaper, and full of new jobs. And by the way, it was public research dollars over the course of 30 years that helped develop the technologies to extract all this natural gas out of shale rock—reminding us that government support is critical in helping businesses get new energy ideas off the ground,” he said.

“Our experience with shale gas shows us that the payoffs on these public investments don't always come right away. Some technologies don't pan out; some companies fail. But I will not walk away from the promise of clean energy. … I will not cede the wind or solar or battery industry to China or Germany because we refuse to make the same commitment here. We have subsidized oil companies for a century. That's long enough. It's time to end the taxpayer giveaways to an industry that's rarely been more profitable, and double-down on a clean energy industry that's never been more promising. Pass clean energy tax credits and create these jobs.”

Finally, climate change legislation was noted last night to a Congress that some political activists have called one of the least active in recent years. Even the President acknowledged that comprehensive climate change legislation would be unlikely with such drastically different agenda’s between the legislative and executive branches of the government. Nevertheless, President Obama commented on climate change legislation and the necessity to increase energy standards and requirements for DOD spending on clean technology.

“We can also spur energy innovation with new incentives. The differences in this chamber may be too deep right now to pass a comprehensive plan to fight climate change. But there's no reason why Congress shouldn't at least set a clean energy standard that creates a market for innovation. So far, you haven't acted. Well tonight, I will. I'm directing my Administration to allow the development of clean energy on enough public land to power three million homes. And I'm proud to announce that the Department of Defence, the world's largest consumer of energy will make one of the largest commitments to clean energy in history – with the Navy purchasing enough capacity to power a quarter of a million homes a year.”

26 January 2022
Join this free webinar for our analysis of the growth of N-Type technology including; new capacity expansions and production output. We'll also be looking at the global manufacturing footprint with forecasts on how much product will be made outside of China this year and which companies are driving technology change across the crystalline silicon value chain.
23 February 2022
Held annually since 2016, the Energy Storage Summit Europe is the place to be for senior stakeholders in the European storage industry. Designed to accelerate deployment of storage, we examine evolving chemistries, business models, project design, revenue stacks and use cases for storage. The 2022 edition will include exclusive content around longer duration solutions, energy strategies for wide-scale deployment of EVs and "EnTech", the event which sits at the intersection of digitisation, decentralisation and decarbonation of the power system. Come to meet TSOs, DSOs, Utilities, Developers, Investors and Lenders and leave with new contacts, partners and a wealth of information.
7 March 2022
Take your chance to join the most powerful platform in the MENA region. Middle East Energy (MEE), Intersolar, and ees, the leading energy exhibitions are joining hands to co-deliver an outstanding renewables and energy storage event at Middle East Energy 2021. Renewables and energy storage at MEE is the largest gathering of solar and renewable energy industry professionals in the Middle East & Africa, offering the most effective trade focused platform to international manufacturers and distributors looking to meet regional buyers.
8 March 2022
As Solar Finance & Investment enters its ninth year, we sit on the cusp of a new power market with solar at its heart. The 2022 edition of the event will build on our years of expertise and relationships to bring investors and lenders together with top developers. Connect with leaders in the field and use exclusive insights to drive investment and development decisions for the future. Meet new and existing project partners at the largest gathering of European solar investors and lenders.
23 March 2022
When it comes to storage, the US market exceeded a gigawatt of advanced energy storage installations (weighted towards lithium ion) at 1.46 GW, more than the previous six years in total! An exponential growth rate could see the market hit 7.5 GW p.a. by 2025. The summit will provide a wealth of content around this vital piece in the US power puzzle, with sessions dedicated to explore how companies are making money from batteries, the latest chemistries and their applications as they apply to different use-cases. We ask how investors can match ESG criteria to batteries and we will bring case studies of successful deployment and project execution onto the stage to examine how you can ensure your own projects are successful.
29 March 2022
Now in its 10th sell-out year, Large Scale Solar returns to Lisbon in 2022. We are excited to gather together face-to-face with the European solar industry as we provide unique and exclusive access to a powerful selection of the market's key stakeholders. Join this elite summit to find out how the market is maturing, which new markets are becoming more exciting, how technology is evolving and who's driving the market forward into the 2020s. Always senior, packed with developers, EPCs, utilities and investors this is the event for companies serious about European solar PV.

Read Next

January 18, 2022
Hive Hydrogen and Linde plc have teamed up to establish the “world’s largest green ammonia export plant” in Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa that will have a 780,000 ton/year production capacity.
January 18, 2022
Corporate funding in the global solar sector reached a ten-year high in 2021 as the industry recovered from a COVID-affected 2020, new research from Mercom Capital Group reveals.
January 17, 2022
A round-up of the latest projects news, including EDP Renewables completing Indiana’s largest PV project, two Gulf utility companies pricing their first green bonds and an Australian utility linking its project to the national grid.
January 17, 2022
US independent power producer DESRI is planning to raise up to US$100 million in an initial public offering (IPO) that will see the company listed on the Nasdaq.
January 17, 2022
Solar module manufacturer Seraphim has launched its new S5 series of high-efficiency PV modules with a maximum power output of up to 670W and an efficiency of 21.57%.
January 17, 2022
Oman has signed an agreement with energy major bp that will support the potential development of multiple gigawatts of renewables and green hydrogen in the Middle Eastern country by 2030.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Webinars
January 26, 2022
Free Webinar
Solar Media Events
February 23, 2022
London, UK
Solar Media Events
March 8, 2022
London, UK
Solar Media Events
March 23, 2022
Austin, Texas, USA
Solar Media Events
March 29, 2022
Lisbon, Portugal