Is renewable energy Trump-proof?
The social activism site TakePart.com posed that question after November’s election, and energy observers and industry leaders in Arkansas are answering yes, with a few caveats.
Donald J. Trump won the presidency after a campaign largely negative to renewable sources like solar and wind power, but forces in favor of cleaner power could prove even bigger than The Donald.
Energy professionals and observers say the falling price of solar and wind power, along with the prospect of new jobs in clean energy, will most likely withstand Trump’s goal of cutting $100 million in government spending on climate policy and his rhetoric favoring fossil fuels over renewables. Businesses and states are demanding more clean power, Arkansas experts say, and utilities are listening.
The Trump campaign promised “to hit reset” on the Clean Power Plan and to roll back Barack Obama’s climate and clean energy initiatives. But a GOP penchant for infrastructure projects and commerce-building is expected to favor endeavors like the Plains & Eastern Clean Line, a $2 billion plan for transmitting wind power across 12 Arkansas counties from Oklahoma to near Memphis.
Ken Smith, policy director for the Arkansas Advanced Energy Association, was hesitant to call anything Trump-proof until it has been “Trump-tested,” but he thinks the renewable energy industry will “survive and prosper during a Trump administration.”