Democratic 2020 contender Joe Biden said Monday that the Obama administration’s investments in alternative energy mean “no one’s going to build another coal plant in America.”
Biden told NPR host Rachel Martin that he is “the only guy that’s done anything” on the issue of clean energy, touting his role in passing the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the 2009 economic stimulus that resulted in the high-profile shuttering of a green energy manufacturer. “No one’s going to build another coal plant in America because of the work we did in our administration,” Biden said.
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He also promised that a Biden administration would “fundamentally change the way in which we approach” energy policy.
The 2009 stimulus contained significant financial investments in solar and wind power, including $90 billion in spending and tax incentives. The investments became infamous when solar panel manufacturer Solyndra went bankrupt after misleading the Department of Energy in order to obtain a $535 million taxpayer-funded loan.
Biden’s campaign website states that a Biden presidency would see further investments in wind and solar energy. It proposes investing $1.7 trillion over 10 years in the clean energy sector.
The coal industry struggled in 2019, as productivity declined and several companies closed mines and laid off workers. The slowdown came after the industry experienced a brief rebound in the past several years. The Trump administration rolled back a significant number of environmental regulations, contributing to the creation of 4,500 jobs.
American coal consumption has steadily declined since the George W. Bush administration. The impacts of decreasing domestic consumption was slightly offset by an increase in coal exports, but the industry continues to struggle.
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