The American renewable energy sector has cheered the declared election of Joe Biden as the next President of the United States, with industry bodies placing the accent on the potential for the country to rejoin global climate leadership under the new administration.
The Solar Energy Industries (SEIA) CEO Abigail Ross Hopper said a Biden presidency would “advance clean energy incorporat[ing] environmental justice”, while American Council on Renewable Energy (Acore) CEO Greg Wetstone called the election “historic” and one that would create “the clean energy future that Americans want, and scientists say we need”.
American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) CEO Tom Kiernan said Biden's win would “shape a cleaner and more prosperous energy future” for the country. And Liz Burdock, CEO of the Business Network for Offshore Wind, suggested the victory was a “vote for a future that focuses on climate change solutions [and] reengaging on the international stage.”
The Associated Press called the election of Biden over Donald Trump at 1125EST today. “Today is a beautiful day,” one industry body spokesperson said to Recharge.
The SEIA said it aimed to outline its 100-day plan, based on “pillars” of clean energy and climate policy, infrastructure and workforce development, with the new administration “to lay the foundation for a strong clean energy economy.”
Hopper said: “We will seek progress with the new administration and all members of Congress on solar policies that achieve our environmental and economic objectives and that lift every community in ways that create a better future for all Americans.”
Wetstone stated: “We commend President-elect Biden for his pledge to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement immediately. The time has come for the US to move beyond climate denial and resume a global leadership role in the fight against climate change.
“An accelerated transition to renewable power provides both climate protection and economic prosperity. With more than $60bn in annual investment, and two of the nation’s fastest-growing job categories – wind turbine technician and solar power installer – renewable energy can help power America’s economic recovery, as it did in 2009”.
Wetstone added that Biden’s climate action strategy would “combat climate change [and] enable our industry to create hundreds of thousands of well-paying jobs across the country”.
“We appreciate that the President-elect’s plan to advance clean energy incorporates environmental justice. And we share his belief that the US must be ambitious on an unprecedented scale to meet the climate challenge.”
Tom Kiernan, CEO of AWEA, said Biden had laid out an “ambitious, comprehensive approach to energy policy that recognises renewable energy’s ability to grow America’s economy and create a cleaner environment, while keeping electricity costs low and combating the threat of climate change”.
“The US wind sector and its growing workforce of over 120,000 Americans stand ready to help put that plan into action and support the Biden administration in delivering on the immense promise of renewable energy to add well-paying jobs to the US economy and reach the President-elect’s 100% target for a carbon-free America by the middle of this century,” he said.
Burdock said: “The election of President-elect Biden puts the offshore wind energy industry on the precipice of substantial growth with the support of an administration that promises to put significant focus back on renewable energy, offshore wind among the beneficiaries.”
The policy chasm on renewable energy between Donald Trump – who was an outspoken and ill-informed opponent of wind power – and Joe Biden was exposed starkly during the election campaign with the 45th US President labelling wind turbines “a pipe dream” that cause more emissions than gas, while his challenger hailed the sector as America’s fastest-growing source of jobs.
Biden has pledged to rejoin the Paris accord within 24 hours of arriving in the White House, with a plan to spend at least $2trn on climate-related actions and decarbonise US power by 2035.