Much of our musings about whether a Donald Trump presidency would be good or bad for the solar industry fell back on the “he’s a business man, so maybe he will see the positive business case and job creation story to be told shifting to solar technology.” Well, today, the Trump Administration, fresh off its health care failure, makes its first moves to roll back a lot of carbon emissions reduction initiatives started under Obama’s Clean Power Plan.
Bottom line for the solar industry? With anything outside of the ITC, not much immediate impact is expected, and reports are that the orders don’t go as far as some conservatives would like. Local policy will still be the much bigger decider of success for your solar business. Anyway, here’s what is being done and what’s not being done in the reported executive actions.
Energy policies being changed
- A fossil fuel comeback is definitely the main objective. Rules written under the Obama Administration that made it basically impossible to build a coal-fired power plant will be rewritten. The moratorium on new coal mines on federal lands will be lifted.
- Directives to reduce the federal government’s own carbon footprint will be rolled back.
- Any policies that are seen as a restriction on things like fracking and offshore drilling will likely be removed.
- The president also will tell federal regulators to stop using the “social cost of carbon,” which attempts to quantify the effects of climate change, in economic analyses of future rules.
What’s staying the same
- There is no order to withdraw from the Paris climate deal.
- The EPA’s policy under the 2009 endangerment finding is not being rewritten.
— Solar Builder magazine