March 31st, 2017
Written by: Tony Anderson
Well, it’s been a couple of months under a new administration with a president who had no previous political experience. Will the Clean Power Plan go away? Is the temperature of the climate going to go out of control? How will the environment survive the next four years or maybe longer?
These are all serious questions. As I watch the membership in environmental organizations climb and donations to fight “battles” pour into these groups, my simple answer is, “Remain calm.” Whether you support this administration or not, this too shall pass. Every party comes into power and every party goes out of power. This will never change, nor should it.
A lower carbon economy will continue to grow. The United States will remain a climate leader. Our leadership may be more market-driven rather than executive-order-driven, but I am confident this country will remain at the cutting edge of environmental improvements.
No president can stop the aging of our coal fleet. Many coal-fired plants have simply reached the end of their useful lives. It has nothing to do with the present administration or the last administration. It is simple economics.
Market forces were already pushing the United States beyond the Clean Power Plan targets before Inauguration Day. This won’t change. Wind prices will nudge lower. Solar will continue its downward trend. Utilities will purchase more energy from both as their affordability targets are met. No late-night Twitter storm can stop the market.
A recent Energy Department analysis determined that the use of natural gas has surpassed coal as a main source of electricity generation in 2016. Thus, affordability of electricity has tilted heavily towards the price of natural gas. We have the boom in fracking to thank. If you are worried about increasing electricity prices in the future, you need to hope that proposed fracking bans in various states are defeated or forgotten.
Yes, there is no doubt this administration will be different than the last. We will see more exploration on land and in the sea. This had to happen regardless of the political party in power. The world will continue to grow and continue to be hungry for energy. It will not all come from the wind and the sun.
Making big changes is not popular for any president. If we are patient while we defend respective positions and beliefs, we will see that there are no big, dramatic changes coming down.
There will be a better climate for business. Coal will not be as dirty of a word, just as solar will become more economical. All renewables will have to stand strong on their foundations as the attack on coal diminishes.
It is a political cycle with a twist like we’ve never seen, but it remains a cycle in a lifetime of cycles. Relax, take a breath, remain calm. When the tweets settle on the ballroom floor, the renewable options and the “not-all-eggs- in-one-basket” theories will still remain.
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