U.S. clean energy installations down 55% due to failed climate bill, trade issues – report

Baker Electric solar installers place solar panels on the roof of a residential home in Scripps Ranch, San Diego, California, U.S. October 14, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake

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WASHINGTON, July 26 (Reuters) – The pace of development of clean energy projects in the United States, including wind and solar, plummeted in the second quarter amid congressional inaction, trade issues and delays related to activity stifled by COVID-19, according to an industry group report on Tuesday.

The industry saw a 55% drop in project installations in the United States from April to June, compared to the same period in 2021, according to the report by American Clean Power. The quarter was the lowest for clean energy capacity additions since the third quarter of 2019, he said.

Congress failed to pass President Joe Biden’s climate legislation containing hundreds of billions of dollars in clean energy tax credits after Senator Joe Manchin, a conservative Democrat from coal-producing West Virginia , closed the door to the bill. Read more

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“We have warned of the storm of political and economic headwinds facing the clean energy industry, and this is a step in the wrong direction,” said CPA Chief Heather Zichal. .

“Congress’s inaction and uncertainty over long-term fiscal policy, tariff and trade restrictions, and transmission constraints are all impacting demand for clean energy at a time when we need to rapidly scale up development. “

A US Commerce Department investigation into whether solar panel imports from Southeast Asian countries are circumventing tariffs on products made in China has thrown the solar industry into disarray. In June, the Biden administration announced it would remove tariffs for two years on solar panels from four Southeast Asian countries in a bid to revitalize solar installations.

The collapse of the climate bill deals a blow to nascent efforts to wean the solar industry from major dependence on China, says the chief of the largest U.S. solar panel producer First Solar Inc (FSLR.O). U.S. solar installations were down 53% in the quarter, ACP said. Read more

In a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Biden, more than 200 businesses, nonprofit groups and industry associations urged policymakers to delay the Congressional recess of August if necessary to settle the energy bill.

The legislation “will fight inflation by reducing the cost of energy for American families and businesses, reducing the deficit and creating a pipeline of well-paying jobs in every state in the country,” says the letter signed by the president. Business Council for Sustainable Energy and others.

Manchin said he hasn’t abandoned the bill, but wants to review upcoming inflation data and the Fed’s stance on interest rates, but some lawmakers are skeptical.

Onshore wind installations fell 78% due to supply chain-induced slowdowns and delays in power grid interconnections, according to the ACP report.

Since the end of 2021, more than 32.4 gigawatts of clean energy projects have been delayed, enough energy to power 6.5 million homes and support 110,000 jobs, the CPA said.

Energy storage, such as large batteries that support the use of solar and wind power, was the only technology to see growth, with installations up 13%, he said. .

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Reporting by Timothy Gardner; Editing by Andrea Ricci and Cynthia Osterman

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