While President-elect Donald J. Trump has advocated for an increase in fossil fuels and vowed to nix major climate change regulations, many experts in the sector – including leaders in Morrison & Foerster’s Energy Group – believe Trump will not derail U.S. green energy growth.
Growth will most likely take place on the state, not the federal level, where many states are poised to take the lead in stimulating the development of wind, solar, and other clean energy sources.
Many states already have substantial climate change programs in place that require significant shifts toward cleaner energy sources. Dozens of states, plus the District of Columbia, have renewable portfolio standards that require utilities to draw increasing percentages of their power from renewable sources. While Trump likely will not push aggressive policies to promote renewable energy development, it is unlikely that his administration will introduce any federal regulations that would interfere with states’ decision-making on renewable energy, given that Republicans are generally in favor of states’ rights across numerous policy and legislative agendas.
One potential red flag for the renewables industry is Trump’s repeated vows to rework or rip up international trade agreements, as well as hike tariffs on Chinese goods. For example, many solar panels and other solar components are made by Chinese manufacturers.
Stay tuned, as there are lots of developments that will shape this sector in the coming months. We will continue to provide updates and commentary as things unfold across the regulatory and legislative landscape.