Top 5 Solar Energy Comapnies in 2021-profiles

EDF Climate Corps

6. Ellen Shenette Manager EDF Climate Corps Top 5 Solar Energy Comapnies in 2021

Interview with Ellen Shenette, manager of EDF Climate Corps

Trump’s announced measures to slash the Department of Energy’s renewable energy and energy efficiency programme budgets by 65 percent follow his 30 percent tariff on solar imports. EDF Climate Corps conducted research on the impact of tariffs and budget cuts on the renewable energy industry, implying that the United States is ceding leadership in this field to countries like China. In addition, the company released a new analysis on the state of the clean energy and sustainability workforce in the United States, which concluded that, while Trump’s tariffs have already harmed the industry, long-term market growth is expected.

Can you give me a bit of background about EDF’s involvement in the renewables sector?

I work on the EDF Climate Core programme, a graduate scholarship programme that places students in businesses over the summer to work on energy and sustainability projects. For the past ten years, we’ve been working on energy efficiency and clean energy projects with businesses and government agencies. We’ve seen a lot of growth in renewable energy startups over the last four years, and roughly 30% of our students work on at least one renewable energy project. EDF has a lot of renewable energy projects going on.

How did you hear about President Trump’s intended budget cuts? What was your initial reaction?

I first learned about it in The Washington Post, but it has since appeared in a variety of publications. My initial feeling was one of dissatisfaction. Trump’s intention to cut renewable energy research by 65 percent isn’t surprising, given his history with renewable energy, but it’s still disappointing because the market is growing and clean energy research and all of the programmes that would be cut are critical to getting us to where we need to be for a low-carbon economy. It’s just another example of the administration’s priority being centred on coal and fossil fuels rather than the low-carbon economy, which has had enormous development in recent years and supports millions of jobs.

The Washington Post story said that Trump might have a bit of difficulty getting these budget cuts through Congress. How accurate do you think that is?

I believe the Post is correct in predicting that the cutbacks will be pushed back by Congress, owing to the administration’s attempt to make a similarly substantial cut in the 2018 budget. Congress refused to allow it to pass in the shape he suggested. I wouldn’t be surprised if Congress pushes back, and I don’t believe the cuts will be as severe as he proposes. But we have no idea. It’s still a bad situation, and any reduction would be disastrous for the business.

What I find really bizarre is that the message that coal is dying doesn’t seem to be getting through to the President, despite all the evidence. Why do you think that is?

I’m not sure what’s going on in Trump’s head, but I agree that coal is dying, and it’s not clean energy that’s killing it; it’s cheap natural gas that’s killing it. Many of us don’t understand Trump since he doesn’t seem to make judgments based on economic development or market conditions.

If these cuts get through, how do you think that will affect big research centers like NREL?

We’ve talked about how many countries are investing in renewable energy research and how many of them are leaders in this field. When the United States begins to cut research, we will fall further behind, and other countries will take our place as leaders. Consider countries like China.

So, you think the long-term prospects for American renewables are fairly positive then?

Yes, I agree. In our report, we offered a few projections. Solar PV, storage, and wind turbine technicians are anticipated to be the fastest expanding professions in America over the next ten years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The wind sector is estimated to create $85 billion in economic impact over the next three years. So the industry is growing, and I believe there will be strong development after we overcome these obstacles.

Are there specific sectors that are doing particularly well?

Wind has fared exceptionally well and has escaped much of the uncertainty, though the Trump tax proposal may have an influence on it. Solar, on the other hand, has been the industry’s fastest-growing segment. The storage and advanced grid sector, which we focused on for the first time in this second iteration of the report, is an intriguing newcomer. That has increased dramatically. Over 230 percent rise in employment. As batteries become more affordable, we may expect increased demand and growth in this industry.

How popular do you think renewables are among the American public?

Demand from corporations increased by 93 percent year over year, indicating that there is a significant appetite among businesses. I believe there is widespread support for these technologies, particularly among corporations, because the business case is compelling.


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