Trump ridicules ‘very, very expensive’ renewable energy

Source: By Christa Marshall, E&E News reporter • Posted: Friday, March 22, 2019

President Trump mocked renewable power yesterday, suggesting that wind energy could cause electricity blackouts and lower property values.

Speaking at a tank factory in Ohio, Trump said former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton “wanted to put windmills all over the place.”

“Let’s put up some windmills — when the wind doesn’t blow, just turn off the television, darling, please. No wind out today. … Please turn off the television quickly!” according to a video posted on C-SPAN. “If you are in sight of a windmill … watch the value of your house go down by 65 percent.”

Trump added that it’s “wonderful to have windmills, and solar is wonderful, too, but it’s not strong enough, and it’s very, very expensive.”

The comments came on the heels of Trump’s fiscal 2020 budget request, which called for reducing Department of Energy wind research funding by more than 74 percent below current levels. Solar research would decline by more than 70 percent under the plan.

Trump has attacked wind power before. In Utica, N.Y., last summer, he said wind was a “killing field” for birds (E&E News PM, Aug. 20, 2018).

Renewable energy supporters have repeatedly said Trump’s wind attacks are inaccurate.

Earlier this month, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, who’s vying for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, said it’s “just simply moronic” for Trump to suggest that wind power means turning off toasters and TVs.

The American Wind Energy Association yesterday also pointed to a 2013 study from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory concluding that wind turbines near residences don’t reduce property values.

The comments followed a report from the Energy Information Administration this week that found renewable sources provided a record 742 million megawatt-hours of electricity last year, reaching almost 17 percent of U.S. generation.

“Declining costs” of wind and solar, along with federal tax credits, helped drive renewable growth in the past decade, EIA said.