The news has been welcomed by the US Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) and the Business Network for Offshore Wind, among others.
SEIA backed the agreement when it was signed in 2016 and continues to support this agreement and other global efforts to combat climate change.
“This is an exciting day for the United States, and we welcome and congratulate President Biden and Vice President Harris” said Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of SEIA. “Today is also marked with feelings of resolve and a sense of gravity for the work ahead. The climate crisis is a threat to everyone on this planet, and the solar industry stands ready to help America meet its commitments in the Paris Agreement. Many state and local governments, corporate leaders, and the American people broadly are committed to deploying more solar to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We are looking forward to working with these leaders and the Biden administration to meet this moment and reclaim America’s standing as a global leader in the fight against climate change. As our economy recovers from the impacts of COVID-19, we have an opportunity to activate a broad coalition and tackle issues such as climate change, racial justice and economic recovery for all Americans. With the right policies and bold actions from the president, the solar industry can help address these challenges, generate billions of dollars in economic activity and put hundreds of thousands of Americans back to work.”
“We commend President Biden’s commitment to move America beyond climate denial on his very first day in office, starting with rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement and initiating a wholesale review of the Trump Administration’s climate and clean energy rollbacks – including the Department of Labor’s misguided anti-ESG investing rule” said Gregory Wetstone, President and CEO of ACORE. “The nation’s renewable sector looks forward to working with the new administration to accelerate the transition to a renewable energy economy and return the United States to a position of global leadership in the fight against climate change. Working together, we can deliver the clean energy future that Americans want and scientists say we need.”
Liz Burdock, CEO of the Business Network for Offshore Wind, also welcomed President Biden and his dedication to tackling climate change and developing US clean energy. Federal legislative action has already created a new 30 percent tax credit specifically for the US wind industry, inviting investment in the supply chain by developers and businesses, creating tens of thousands of good-paying jobs while delivering clean, renewable energy to millions of households.
“This is the opportunity the offshore wind industry has waited for” said Ms Burdock. “President Biden’s unwavering commitment to develop renewable energies will usher in a new era for the offshore wind industry and for the US supply chain. We are excited to work with the Biden administration to build the next great American industry that will inject at least $166 billion dollars into the future US economy.”
The US offshore wind industry is already primed for growth thanks to state governments pushing development forward with bold commitments, like New York’s recent announcement of the largest offshore wind capacity procurement in US history, nearly 2.5 GWs. A federal government matching the leadership shown in states will finally unleash the offshore wind industry, driving the development of a larger, more competitive domestic market as well as opening up export opportunities for American companies. The next four years will see at least 10 GW of generation entering construction, new vessel orders including state-of-the-art wind turbine installation vessels, and billions of dollars in port infrastructure improvements.
“At the Business Network, we track the US supply chain through our proprietary Offshore Wind Market Dashboard and Supply Chain Connect, and with the support of the Biden Administration we are confident the industry will easily triple the 419 currently known subcontracts creating thousands of jobs within the next four years” added Ms Burdock,.
To maximize the potential of offshore wind, the federal government must take action to alleviate the hurdles that are currently impacting business confidence and investment. This past week, offshore wind leaders met at the Business Network’s Leadership 100 Summit to discuss industry priorities and opportunities under the Biden administration. Summit attendees agreed the most pressing issue curtailing industry confidence is the federal government’s uncertain leasing and permitting processes.
East Coast states have already committed to procure 30 GW of offshore wind generation capacity, more than can be developed in current existing federal offshore leases. More than a dozen offshore wind projects, totalling 11.6 GW of capacity, have already secured financial offtake and are ready for construction once they receive federal permitting approval. By auctioning new lease areas, advancing current projects awaiting federal approval, and streamlining the federal permitting process, the Biden Administration can ensure substantial private sector investment and consistent growth within the US supply chain.
The Environmental and Energy Study Institute 's executive director, Daniel Bresette, also welcomed President Joe Biden's executive order marking the return of the United States to the Paris Agreement.
"Rejoining the Paris Agreement is a critical first step to show our international partners that we are serious about tackling climate change," said Bresette. "Now comes the hard part: setting ambitious climate commitments, implementing new policies, and making sure we meet our goals. Fortunately, we can reduce our greenhouse gas emissions while also creating jobs, cutting harmful pollution, and making our communities more secure and resilient."
"President Biden has clearly and repeatedly signaled his determination to make action against climate change a top priority," noted Bresette. "This is an 'all hands on deck'; moment. We look forward to working with the Biden-Harris administration and the new Congress to make our nation more equitable, sustainable, and resilient."
The Paris Agreement calls on the world's nations to keep global warming significantly below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) and to strive to limit the increase to 1.5 0C (2.7 0F). This would primarily be achieved by transitioning to cleaner energy sources and by promoting energy efficiency. With almost universal support from the world's nations, the Paris Agreement entered into force in record time in November 2016. In 2017, President Donald Trump announced the United States would withdraw from the Agreement, and that withdrawal became effective on November 4, 2020, the day after the U.S. presidential election. Other major powers; including China, the European Union, Britain, Japan, and South Korea;have reaffirmed their commitments to the Paris Agreement and have set ambitious goals to become carbon neutral by 2050 (or 2060 in China's case).
Biden's transition team has announced that more climate-related executive orders will be forthcoming on January 27.
For additional information:
Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA)
American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE)