Trump administration accused of stifling renewables on US public lands

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Share on email
Email
Image: Flickr/Gage Skidmore.

The Trump administration has stifled solar and other renewables development on public lands in the US, achieving less than the Obama administration and hindering the country’s renewable energy transition.

That damning verdict has been delivered within a report published today by the Center for American Progress, whose authors Nicole Gentile and Kate Kelly have slammed the US President’s hostility towards and neglect of renewables.

The think tank said that President Trump’s “antipathy” towards renewables had been reflected in his administration’s policies, highlighting the imposition of new trade tariffs and opposition to continued tax credits as having cost jobs, stunted growth and impeded decarbonisation of the US’ power system.

The report also argues that the administration has exhibited “equal parts neglect and hostility” towards wind and solar companies, highlighting recent decisions from the US Department of the Interior to grant relief to the domestic oil and gas industry while issuing retroactive rent bills to solar and wind developers.

It goes on to suggest that its analysis provides evidence that Trump’s government has stymied responsibly sited wind and solar projects on public lands, “squandering the momentum generated by the Obama administration” that preceded it.

The full analysis – which can be read here – effectively grades the Trump administration on five specific categories necessary in advancing renewables developments on public lands. It shows that;

  • The Trump administration has approved fewer renewables projects than the Obama administration had at the same point of its first term;
  • Wiped out the Bureau of Land Management’s renewables permitting office;
  • Scrapped landscape-level renewable development plans;
  • Slowed and in some cases stopped competitive renewable energy lease offers, and;
  • Given priority access to oil and gas lobbyists at the expense of those in renewable energy.

Furthermore the report argues that the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has “amplified” the Trump administration’s attacks on renewables through the uneven treatment of the clean energy and fossil fuel sectors in stimulus measures.

While the Trump administration did indeed resist calls to include an extension of the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) in the country’s first COVID-related economic stimulus bill earlier this year, a new Bill, tabled earlier this week by House Democrats, has sought to introduce a raft of new legislative measures to support solar and other renewable energies in the US.

The CAP report goes on to issue a number of recommendations that could “kickstart responsible clean energy development”, including establishing an ambitious goal of permitting around 30GW of renewable energy developments on public lands and water by 2030, more than double the current capacity.

It has also called on the Department of the Interior to reestablish and fund renewable energy offices within various sub-departments.

“Nearly four years into the Trump administration, the renewable energy industry is looking worse for the wear. At a time when the nation’s leaders should be working to address climate change and rebuild a just economy that will serve all families, the Trump administration has, instead, actively undermined progress of solar and wind energy development, particularly on public lands and waters,” the report’s conclusion reads.

“The Trump administration’s disparate treatment of the renewable energy and oil and gas industries during the COVID-19-fueled economic downturn has brought this troubling pattern into sharp focus. An administration looking to transition to a clean energy economy and create jobs should start with ramping up responsible clean energy development on U.S. public lands and waters.”

Read Next

PV Tech Premium
May 10, 2021
Andy Colthorpe takes a look at what’s happening and what’s expected to happen in the Japanese large-scale PV market, with data and analysis courtesy of RTS Corporation and interviews with Vena Energy Japan, Sonnedix Japan and Baywa Japan.
May 4, 2021
German developer and EPC contractor juwi has secured a deal to design, supply and build a solar-storage hybrid project at an off-grid gold mine in Egypt.
PV Tech Premium
May 3, 2021
Companies are purchasing solar, wind, and other forms of renewable energy more than ever before. The power purchase agreement (PPA) market in Europe has grown to a cumulative capacity of over 12GW, with a record 4GW signed in 2020. Corporate climate commitments are opening doors for investment in renewable energy, and continued price declines are convincing companies to sign new contracts. Is the European market ready to fulfil its potential? By Dr. Mercè Labordena, senior policy advisor at SolarPower Europe, and Milena Koot, communications advisor at SolarPower Europe
April 28, 2021
Spanish energy giant Iberdrola has partnered with oil and gas majors bp and Enagas on a feasibility study to develop a large-scale green hydrogen project in Valencia.
April 19, 2021
The US Department of the Interior (DOI) has established a new Climate Task Force to accelerate the adoption of renewable energy generation across the country and revoked several Trump administration policies promoting fossil fuels on public land.
April 14, 2021
There is likely to be demand across Europe for producing hydrogen from renewable energy, but the right regulatory frameworks and legislation need to be in place for the green hydrogen industry to find success.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Webinars
May 26, 2021
Session 1 - 7:00 AM (BST) | Session 2 - 5:00 PM (BST)
Solar Media Events
June 15, 2021
Solar Media Events
July 6, 2021
Solar Media Events
August 24, 2021