Terium: Business as usual for US renewables

The head of Innogy, Peter Terium, believes the ascension of Donald Trump to the presidency of the US will not have an adverse effect on the progress of renewables.

FT reports Terium, like the head of GE Power Services who expressed similar sentiments last week, believes the success of green power in the markets means Trump would have no reason to resist that progress, despite referring to climate change as a ‘hoax’ in pre-election rhetoric.
Peter Terium
Innogy plans a great deal of investment in the sector stateside despite Trump’s previous comments, including a threat to ‘cancel’ the Paris climate change agreement.

Terium pointed to the fact that Congress had already extended production tax credits for renewables until 2021 and many states have laws that require utilities to sell or produce a certain share of their electricity from clean energy sources.

In addition Trump's pledge to revive coal-fired power was dismissed by Terium who pointed out it is uneconomical in the present circumstance to turn away from gas.

“The fact that the market supports this policy (shift from coal to shale gas in power generation) means it’s not going to stop,” he said. “Even the US president can’t stop the market.”

Terium said Trump would be incentivised to leave the current pro-renewables policies in place because the states that benefit most from onshore wind “are almost all Republican”. Also, “the world market leader in onshore wind is General Electric, and most of the value creation is local,” he added.

The Solar Energy Industries Association, a US trade body, is still predicting that by 2020, solar installations in the US will triple, despite Mr Trump’s victory. “There is no benefit for any administration or Congress to stand in the way of that kind of growth,” said Dan Whitten, SEIA’s spokesman.

Meanwhile, green energy is becoming more economical as costs continue to fall. He noted that in August solar developers bid a record low of 2.91 cents per kilowatt-hour at an electricity auction in Chile, breaking the previous record of 2.99 cents/kWh set in Dubai earlier this year.

“You can’t build a gas power plant for that,” Mr Terium said.



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