Like many others, proponents of clean energy were thrown into a state of shock after the US election results. During the campaign, now President-elect Trump dismissed climate change as a Chinese hoax and threatened an abrupt shift in US energy policy.
Despite this shaken political climate, there are many reasons to remain optimistic about the prospects for clean energy in the United States. Specifically, renewable energy is broadly popular, makes sense financially, and is largely state-regulated.
Outside of Washington, there is overwhelming support for renewable energy. Gallup found that 79% of Americans would like to see more emphasis on domestic solar energy production and they are increasingly voting with their roofs: more than one million US homes now have solar panels installed. Red states like South Dakota and Idaho are on the forefront of renewable energy adoption alongside blue states like California and Massachusetts. Clean energy is not a partisan issue—it’s a technology that can provide solid middle class jobs and energy savings for all.
Finally, state and local governments play a much larger role in the management of the energy industry than the federal government. State utility commissions lead utility regulation and are guided by state legislatures and governors in setting goals, incentives, and policy guidelines. State-level ballot initiatives have further demonstrated broad consumer support for renewable policies. This week Florida voters defeated a utility-supported measure to restrict solar in the state and Nevada voted overwhelmingly to end NV Energy’s legal monopoly and create a path for more clean, cost-effective energy in the state.
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