All the same, solar couldn’t have gotten to this point without some serious help from the all knowing, all powerful body in our country, the US government.
At the beginning of the Obama Administration, our previous president proposed a series of new carbon regulations that aimed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants by 30% of what their levels were in 2005, he also vowed to double the use of renewables in his first term. To do this he issued ninety billion dollars into clean energy, giving the push needed to advance innovative industries - such as the tech industry - in the states while reducing carbon emissions. That might seem crazy, but for the most part, it actually worked. Emissions have dropped 17% from what they were in 2005, and major industrial energy plants in the states have announced that they will incorporate renewable energy into their future plans. Nevada Energy, in fact, has recently released that it will be replacing its Reid Gardner coal-fired plant with solar and gas. And Nevada isn’t alone in planning to reduce the amount of coal-fired plants in their state. Other states are also planning to close down non-renewable energy plants and replace them with solar, wind, or water. In addition, some coal plants may be shutting down because Obama has also limited the amount of soot, mercury and other substances, that are being released into the atmosphere.
Many Democrats are pleased with these regulations within Washington, but Republicans have taken the side of the miners and have been speaking up against Obama. Paul Ryan - Republican speaker of the house - recently made a comment on a major US solar-thermal plant called Crescent Dunes. He stated that Crescent Dunes was an “ill-fated venture”. His party is also now on the verge of suspending a mandate in Ohio, where there happens to be an abundance of coal. It has also helped their party that the man who now sits in the oval office sides with them. In fact, his mere presence in Washington may alter all the data you are learning about now. But let us cross that bridge when we come to it. Bottom line is, Obama has pushed the renewable energy and solar industry and set up a greener future for us, despite what the opposition party has said.
Converting the Country
Okay, so it’s quite obvious that there are two opposing sides to this transition right now. Some are making it happen, and others want to halt it in its tracks. So who will win? The result has to come at some point, whether it is a compromise or not. However, I think both sides are hoping for a compromise, and as a matter of a fact, some progress has been made towards getting one.
Recently, a compromise called Just Transition was introduced. Just Transition promises that in bringing down our reliance on the coal industry, society as a whole will feel the cost, not just the coal workers. There are different versions of this plan out there though. For example, Obama introduced a fund for fifty-five million dollars to his Power Plus plan in order to invest in economic development, job creation, and job training as his form of Just Transition. On the other hand, the UK has proposed a plan that promises that anyone in a non-renewable energy job will be guaranteed a permanent job in renewable energy with the same salary. But no matter what form of Just Transition we end up with, the public will be paying, for this would be no small investment. And in order for it to work, everyone would need to be on board.