Vestas expects major wind investments despite U.S. climate deal exit

Source: By Stine Jacobsen, Reuters • Posted: Friday, June 2, 2017

Wind energy will still attract major investment in the United States and around the world despite President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the global climate accord, top wind turbine maker Vestas predicted on Friday.

With the help of tax credits, wind energy surpassed hydropower as the biggest source of renewable electricity in the U.S. during former President Barack Obama’s administration, and the cost of output has steadily declined as technology evolved.

“Of course, it would be better if the U.S. were to stay in the Paris Agreement as is,” Vestas spokesman Morten Dyrholm said in a statement.

“But there does remain broad support for the agreement internationally, and wind energy continues attracting major investments globally and in the U.S. because it makes economic sense,” he added.

Vestas supplied 43 percent of the 8.2 GW of wind power capacity connected to the U.S. power grid last year, according to the American Wind Energy Association. That was up from 33 percent in 2015 and just 12 percent in 2014.

Vestas’ shares traded 2.2 percent lower at 0834 GMT, underperforming a 0.7 percent rise in the Danish benchmark index.

Trump, tapping into the “America First” message he used when he was elected president last year, said the Paris accord would undermine the U.S. economy, cost U.S. jobs, weaken American national sovereignty and put the country at a permanent disadvantage to other countries.

(Editing by Terje Solsvik/Keith Weir)

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The head of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s office on Friday dismissed U.S. President Donald Trump’s call to renegotiate a landmark 2015 global agreement to fight climate change.

Trump said on Thursday the United States will withdraw from the Paris climate deal, a move that fulfilled a major campaign pledge but drew condemnation from global leaders and executives. He said his administration would begin talks either to re-enter the Paris accord or to have a new deal with better terms for the United States.

Peter Altmaier, head of the German chancellery, said that Trump’s decision was a disappointment, adding: “It’s sad that one of the most important allies in climate protection is pulling out with a single stroke of the pen.”

But the United States would not be in a position to reverse international efforts to fight global warming, Altmaier told ARD public broadcaster, adding that reopening negotiations on a new climate deal would be wrong.

“That’s why I’m convinced that this path will continue, that the deal will survive,” he said.

In the end, the U.S. government will damage its own economy by supporting the illusion that climate change can be ignored, Altmaier added.

China and the European Union are expected to make a show of unity over the fight against global warming at a summit in Brussels on Friday.

The meeting between Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and top EU officials will end with a joint statement, backed by all 28 EU states, committing the European Union and China to full implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement.

(Reporting by Gernot Heller; Writing by Michael Nienaber; Editing by Hugh Lawson)