COVERAGE AREA and macrothesis
President Donald Trump may not officially oppose renewable power development, but his policies have potential to create headwinds for green energy. Tax reform completed in CY 2017 minimally impacted renewable energy policies, but the Administration’s support for keeping existing coal-fired and nuclear generation online – whatever form it might eventually take – could further pressure prices to the downside in electricity markets that are already long on supply. Likewise, the President’s America First energy trade agenda exerted its first adverse, energy-sector impacts on solar product imports with the January 2018 imposition of tariff-rate quotas scheduled to phase down over four years. An assessment of uranium imports pursuant to Section 232 of the 1962 Trade Expansion Act presents a looming trade risk to another clean resource.
Meanwhile, states continue to retain their primacy over generation preferences, and the President’s deregulatory agenda appears to be spurring a “rollback rebound” whereby green-leaning states expand and/or accelerate policies that drive renewable power buildout. Not to be overlooked, consumer and corporate clean power demand continues to shift the market towards solar and wind energy (and, to a lesser extent, nuclear power). Thus to an irony: President Obama explicitly advocated for renewables even as he presided over what, at the time, amounted to unprecedented U.S. oil and gas production growth. In a similar vein, President Trump’s pro-fossil stance seems likely to coincide with a continued – and perhaps accelerated – greening up of the U.S. grid.
Our power alternatives coverage gauges state and federal policies governing zero-carbon generation, renewable power, storage and building and appliance efficiency. Clients receive as-needed research notes, reports and flash blasts. In addition, our monthly Regulated Energy Playbook for investors outlines key themes, examines recent legislative, regulatory and judicial developments and presents forward-looking assessments of coming events.
Updated: December 24, 2018.