Biden’s climate pitch to young voters — This Week in Cleantech

Biden’s climate pitch to young voters — This Week in Cleantech
September 14, 2021 - Joe Biden, President of the United States, speaks during a visit the Flatirons Campus of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Arvada, Colorado. The President received insight into NREL’s long-term research mission, vision, and critical objectives which directly align with his decarbonization goals and national energy priorities.(Photo by Werner Slocum / NREL).

This Week in Cleantech is a new, weekly podcast covering the most impactful stories in cleantech and climate in 15 minutes or less. Produced by Renewable Energy World and Tigercomm, This Week in Cleantech will air every Friday in the Factor This! podcast feed wherever you get your podcasts.

This week’s episode features Quillian Robinson, an associate fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, who wrote an op-ed in TIME about the true cost of China’s clean energy dominance.

This week’s “Cleantecher of the Week” is David Arfin, CEO of NineDot Energy. Send your nominations and story recommendations to

1. Biden needs young voters. Can his climate policy rally them? — E&E News

During the 2020 election cycle, young voters were key to President Biden’s victory. That year, 57% of voters 29 and under said they ‘definitely’ planned to vote in the presidential election. Now, that number is down to 49%. 

Younger voters are especially concerned about climate change. But only 58% of Americans said they knew even ‘a little’ about the Inflation Reduction Act. Younger voters have also seen TikTok videos about two fossil fuel projects under Biden – Alaska’s Willow project and the Mountain Valley pipeline in West Virginia. As a result, many are dissatisfied with Biden’s climate record. When younger voters learn more about the IRA and Biden’s climate efforts, the question remains whether they will find it compelling enough to vote for him this year.

2. US unveils solar energy plan for western public lands — Reuters

The Biden administration proposed a new solar energy plan last week which identifies 22 million acres in 11 western states as preferred zones with streamlined permitting for solar development. The plan adds 5.4 million acres of land in Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming to an existing Obama-era plan, prioritizing spaces within 10 miles of existing or planned transmission lines. It also excludes 126 million acres in more sensitive places to protect wildlife habitats, recreation, and historic places.

3. How Biden’s climate law spurred a tax credit revolution — Financial Times

The IRS put out guidance last year allowing project developers to transfer tax credits to corporations with sizable tax liabilities, instead of relying solely on the tax equity market. This “transferability” is great for developers looking to finance future renewable energy projects and is especially helpful for smaller developers who may struggle to benefit from tax credits and secure tax equity partnerships due to high upfront costs.

Still, there is the possibility that there might not be enough corporate participants to meet the expected supply of credits. And with the market being so new, it’s harder for suppliers to be confident they are getting the best deal for their credits.

Watch the full episode on YouTube

4. Growth in low-emissions power expected to cover demand – IEA — Reuters

According to a new report from the International Energy Agency, power generation from renewables will be enough to meet growth in global demand for the next three years. About half the world’s power by 2026 is expected to be generated by low-emissions sources – mostly wind, solar, and nuclear – up from below 40% in 2023. It’s also projected that renewables will overtake coal by early 2025, reaching one-third of total global electricity generation. 

Energy demand is also on the rise, projected to increase by 3.5% over the next two years. About 85% of this increase in demand will come from China, India, and Southeast Asia. On the other hand, global greenhouse gas pollution is headed for a 2.4% decline in 2024, with larger declines in the coming years. 

5. The True Cost of Chinese Solar Panels — TIME

Despite the global growth of solar energy, China dominates the market with over 80% market share — making it hard for U.S. solar manufacturers to compete. Critics argue that relying on cheap Chinese solar panels poses security risks for the U.S. and its allies, similar to the energy dependence on Russia by the European Union.

There are also concerns that China’s solar industry is connected to the mistreatment of the Uyghur ethnic minority in Xinjiang. And that the majority of solar panels globally can be traced to this region, where coal is heavily used in the manufacturing process. Author Quillan Robinson argues that if the U.S. loosens China’s chokehold through the IRA, tariffs and working with allies, it may slow down the deployment of solar energy, but would prevent China’s solar monopoly from continuing.