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Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Renewable Energy Industry Says the Future Looks Bright

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We solicited comments from environmental and renewable industry leaders in the wake of Senator Barack Obama’s victory in Tuesday night’s presidential election. A few e-mailed responses — enthusiastic all — follow. We’ll post more if/when they come in:

Gregory Wetstone of the American Wind Energy Association said that he was eager to work with a president whose policies “for the first time will reflect a national commitment to renewable energy” like wind and solar power.

Mr. Wetstone noted that Mr. Obama is a “strong supporter of policies that are critical for wind growth,” including a national renewable portfolio standard, a long-term extension of a tax credit to aid the industry, and backing for investment in transmission.

Rhone Resch of the Solar Energy Industry Association hailed what he called a “new generation of leaders” with pro-clean energy policies that the election has ushered in, and called for Mr. Obama to begin work on his promise of 5 million green jobs.

The ethanol industry – whose troubles I write about today — is also likely to be pleased. Mr. Obama hails from Illinios — a corn state — and he had been more supportive than Senator John McCain of ethanol subsidies, as well as expanded use of higher blends of ethanol.

Mr. Obama has also said that he is eager to move forward on developing ethanol derived from cellulose — an energy-rich molecule in plants that scientists say can be converted to fuel.

Environmentalists were optimistic about an Obama administration as well. Seth Kaplan of the Conservation Law Foundation, a Northeast advocacy group, said in an e-mail message that in addition to renewables development, he hoped Mr. Obama would implement a “tremendous ramp-up in energy efficiency,” as well as national regulation of greenhouse gases.

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