Following the announcement that the US would be leaving the Paris Climate Accord back the in spring, a handful of energy suppliers in the US rejoiced: coal miners. The Trump Administration has made a promise to revive this dying industry, challenging climate-change science and bastardized renewable energy investments as being expensive and far too dependent of government subsidies.
How interesting, then, that across Trump’s primary voter base, solar energy is absolutely booming. Deep red states are finding that their energy jobs are being fueled by falling development costs and the aforementioned government subsidies…which many Republicans in Congress are supporting.
Reuters recently reported data from a clean energy information firm that noted 8 of the 10 fastest growing US solar markets from 2016 to 2017 were in Western, Midwestern, or Southern States that voted for Trump. In fact, Alabama and Mississippi were at the top of this list! Incentives to develop solar energy in these states continue to ramp up as a sign that renewables are definitely the industry of the future.
According to government data, solar and wind energy firms have become important constituents in some Republican-led states because they employ about 300,000 people nationwide — that’s SIX times the number working in the coal industry. Reuters noted that “the growth of solar directly undermines Trump’s goal of boosting the coal industry. Luke Popovich, a spokesman for the National Mining Association, called Republican support of solar subsidies ‘inconsistent with market-based energy policy.’” Also interesting to note that the USDA allocated $400 million (under President Obama) to fund rural solar projects in 2015 and 2016. 70% of that money went to states that voted for Trump.
So coal is what is going to make America great again? Think, people. Think.