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Clean Energy’s Prospects with the 2019 Congress

We’re starting to see the impact that the 2018 congressional elections had on clean energy. Although the House of Representatives is now in Democratic control, many of the energy policies of the Trump administration are likely to continue.

Starting at the top, President Trump is unlikely to change is viewpoints favoring fossil fuels and ignoring global warming. As one would expect, his cabinet officials leading the EPA, Interior and DOE will continue on their path of loosening regulations, increasing oil and gas drilling, and supporting nuclear technologies while rolling back CAFE standards. From a congressional standpoint we can expect much more proposed legislation for clean energy technologies, but since the Senate must also support these efforts and Trump may veto them, I do not expect any significant clean energy legislative victories. Nevertheless, the Climate Solutions Caucus in the House of Representatives will continue to address risks from global warming — regardless of the prospects of success.

When it comes to state-level activities, the prospects for better solar and storage are much brighter. Seven states changed their gubernatorial party leadership, and all of these new governors campaigned in favor of clean energy. In fact, after president Trump’s disavowal of the Paris climate agreement, 16 states and Puerto Rico pledged to uphold the accord anyway and keep fighting climate change on their own.

While our country staggers drunkenly both forwards and backwards from a clean energy policy standpoint, the economics of clean energy continue to improve. Solar, wind, storage and energy efficiency continue to get cheaper, simpler and more integrated in our daily lives. At the end of the day, even bad policies are unlikely to counteract the incredibly positive economics of solar, wind and energy storage. Please tune in to this week’s Energy Show for the few glimmers of good news about our country’s transition to cheaper clean energy.


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