Donald Trump lashed out at “the ridiculous Green New Deal” as the US renewable energy sector found itself at the centre of a blazing political row over a $2trn coronavirus stimulus package.
Republicans accused Democrat lawmakers of holding up the package – intended as an economic ‘bazooka’ to kick-start the American economy – by trying to include green initiatives such as extensions of wind and solar incentives, and emissions reduction measures.
After days of deadlock, by Wednesday it appeared a way forward for the stimulus had been found. US media reports said a compromise would allow a vote on the package later in the day although details of the final stimulus – said to be of “wartime” proportions – are still to emerge.
The President – who has a long track record of animosity to the wind sector in particular – waded into the row early on Tuesday in the US, using Twitter to claim: “This is not about the ridiculous Green New Deal. It is about putting our great workers and companies BACK TO WORK!”
Trump added: “Congress must approve the deal, without all of the nonsense, today. The longer it takes, the harder it will be to start up our economy. Our workers will be hurt!”
The US wind and solar sectors have been vocal on the need for renewables to form a central plank of measures to restart the American economy after a coronavirus-led slump.
The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) and Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) last week said a failure to offer an extension to the certainty offered by tax credit incentives would be “jeopardising the jobs of our combined 364,000 workers, threatening to sidetrack tens of billions of dollars in investment”.
The wind and solar sectors are racing to install projects ahead of expiring tax credits. Wind alone had more than 22GW under construction at he start of the year and was forecast to break installation records this year as developers tried to grab 100% value from the federal production tax credit (PTC).
That task looked tough enough before the disruptions to supply chains and workforces from the pandemic.
Analysts at Wood Mackenzie earlier on Tuesday renewed their warning that the US wind market was among the most at risk globally from an impact on installations in 2020.