- Joe Biden’s reconciliation bill advocating $300 billion in tax incentives has hit a hurdle with West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin refusing to support it
- The President says he will take strong executive action to do what it takes to support the government’s climate policy
- Reports suggest he may consider declaring a national emergency as clean energy industry and environmentalists cry foul over Manchin’s move
US President Joe Biden has promised to take ‘strong executive action’ to clear his administration’s reconciliation bill that if cleared will lead to $300 billion in tax incentives the country’s for clean energy industry, after fellow Democrat West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin refused to back it.
“So let me be clear: if the Senate will not move to tackle the climate crisis and strengthen our domestic clean energy industry, I will take strong executive action to meet this moment,” stated Biden. “My actions will create jobs, improve our energy security, bolster domestic manufacturing and supply chains, protect us from oil and gas price hikes in the future, and address climate change. I will not back down: the opportunity to create jobs and build a clean energy future is too important to relent.”
Now there are reports of Biden contemplating declaring a national climate emergency to get things moving for clean energy which again could get stuck with the move needing the Supreme Court’s green light.
Earlier, Biden had used his executive powers to offer a 24-month reprieve for imported solar components to enter the country without any tariffs for 24 months (see Biden Saves The Day for US Solar Industry).
For background, the reconciliation bill is part of Biden’s Build Back Better Act through which the federal government wants to extend the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) and standalone credit for energy storage leading to job creation in the industry (see US President Proposes 10-Year Extension For ITC).
It will also provide clearance to the Solar Energy Manufacturing for America Act (SEMA) that would provide an industrial framework for domestic production of an integrated solar supply chain (see US Solar Manufacturers Write To Biden).
On July 2012, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) said more than 400 solar and storage companies wrote to the congressional leaders to pass the legislation related to reconciliation bill to ‘build a cleaner, cheaper, and more secure domestic energy future for all Americans’.
Reactions to Manchin’s decision that has now created uncertainty for the US’ solar industry are fast to come in.
In an interview with Reuters, American solar panel manufacturer First Solar Inc CEO Mark Widmar said no positive decision on the reconciliation bill leaves the US solar industry with no direction, no policy and no indication for anyone to invest in solar manufacturing in the country.
Will Cleveland, who identifies himself as an energy and environmental attorney, tweeted, “A national approach to climate would be better, but Biden is about to do what every president before him has done on climate: nothing. It’s up to states for the foreseeable future.”
Nonetheless, the clean energy industry and environmentalists are gearing up to mobilize support and build up pressure for clean energy and climate issues to be taken seriously at a time when some parts of the US are dealing with harsh heatwaves and droughts.
“Absent new legislation, the renewable sector will not grow at the pace needed to address the climate imperative. Tax incentives for renewable energy phase down and largely out in today’s tax code, while century-old fossil fuel incentives remain permanently in place. We need a level playing field for the renewable sector and a 21st century grid to reliably power our economy. Failure is not an option,” stated Gregory Wetstone, President and CEO of the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE).
Calling the development ‘crushing’ and a ‘serious blow’ to the American workers and manufacturers, SEIA President and CEO Abigail Ross Hopper said, “The stakes for all American communities are just too high for us to give up this fight and we will aggressively pursue solutions, wherever they may be and for as long as it takes.”
Congressional Progressive Staff Association (CPSA) also released a statement expressing their disappointment with Manchin not supporting his own party in power for a crucial issue of climate. “We are reaching a boiling point. Over the past few days, countless staffers have reached out to CPSA looking to take action. With over 1,100 members, CPSA is ready to organize and mobilize around the climate emergency impacting not only us as staffers, but our futures, the futures of every person we serve, and every generation to follow.”