Trump’s understanding of solar energy is outdated

Trump’s understanding of solar energy is outdated

In his first speech regarding energy Donald Trump repeats urban myths about renewables and reveals his ignorance towards the energy market.

It was the first time during his presidential candidacy that Donald Trump had something to say on the kind of energy policy he’d like to advocate. Before this, there had not even been so much as a reference to energy in the “Positions” section of his campaign website.

So when speaking to his audience in Bismarck, North Dakota – a state that lives mainly off oil fracking – Trump did what he does best: please the crowd by repeating populist but uninformed opinions.


Revival of coal mining and fracking

Trump’s speech was simply a pledge for a revival and increase of America’s domestically sourced fossil fuel production. He advocated the expansion of oil and gas extraction, whilst also promoting the revival of America’s sinking coal industry. However, given the global decline in demand for coal, which is partially driven by the rise in alternative renewables and U.S. energy plants being converted to cheaper, cleaner natural gas, any promise to restore coal mining is meaningless. Not to mention awful environmental policy.


Trump: “I know a lot about solar”

Regarding renewable energy, Trump displayed an extremely outdated view. He merely repeated old myths about high costs of solar plants and wind turbines, saying: „I know a lot about solar. The problem with solar: It’s very expensive. When you have a 30-year payback, that’s not exactly the greatest thing in the world. But I know a lot about solar.“

Despite Trump arguing that he allegedly knows a lot about solar, statistics show that contract prices for large-scale solar in the United States have fallen by five US cents per kilowatt hour. Wind prices are even lower than that. Studies have, furthermore, demonstrated that most customers recovered their investments in photovoltaic systems in an average of 7.5 years, not 30 – as stated by Trump.

Political figures have been appalled by Trump’s lack of understanding of the energy market with Michael Brune of Sierra Club tweeting: “There are open pools of oil and drilling wastewater in ND right now that are deeper than Trump’s understanding of energy issues”.

It is quite obvious that with Donald Trump for president, a firm non-believer in global warming, achievements in environmental policy and renewable energy would most certainly relapse.



Washington Post, LA Times, PV Magazine

Foto by Gage Skidmore