- Some 85 US House officials wrote to President Joe Biden on Tuesday asking him to expedite the anti-circumvention investigation into Southeast Asian solar exports, which has led to a number of delays and cancellations. American projects.
- Representatives asked the Commerce Department to take “steps to expeditiously reach a preliminary determination as soon as possible” while considering the greater impact on jobs in the clean energy sector and the climate goals of the Biden administration.
- A bipartisan group of senators had written to the White House in April similarly asking for a faster process, but Commerce Sec. Gina Raimondo told the Senate Appropriations Committee last week that she cannot intervene and that the investigation is subject to a process prescribed by law.
Overview of the dive:
The letter sought an earlier preliminary ruling on the Department’s trade investigation that was initiated in March, and was prompted by a request from Auxin Solar, a small domestic panel producer. According to the timetable set by the agency, a preliminary decision could be ready in August, with a final decision as early as January, which could lead to additional tariffs on solar imports from Malaysia, Cambodia, Thailand and the Vietnam that use cells made in China. and components.
Auxin Solar’s petition claimed that cheaper products from Southeast Asia were preventing the development of solar manufacturing in the United States.
However, “this anti-circumvention investigation threatens to completely derail the progress we have made” on decarbonization, according to the letter from the representatives.
Solar experts have criticized the petition and previous tariffs on solar panels as a policy that has failed to build a commensurate solar manufacturing presence in the United States.
“We’re trying to start building more of a national supply chain and creating more skilled manufacturing jobs, and that’s just throwing a spanner into that as well. If you’ve got… choppy public policy, that doesn’t doesn’t help,” said Susan Nickey, chief client officer and executive vice president of climate solutions investment firm Hannon Armstrong.
The Biden administration has responded to calls for action from the solar industry in the investigation. Dry Energy. Jennifer Granholm said she was “extremely troubled” by industry analysis indicating solar rollout for 2022 will be cut in half as a result of the survey.
“I fully understand the uncertainty around trade regulations that interfere, and that’s a soft word, with the industry’s ability to grow,” Granholm said Wednesday during a presentation at the CLEANPOWER 2022 conference.
Other CLEANPOWER 2022 panelists and experts also echoed concerns that the survey was less effective than establishing a long-term policy to encourage the development of a national solar supply chain.
Solar projects “already have economic headwinds from inflation and rising interest rates,” according to Armstrong.
“We are in a tight labor market, so the risk of losing the skilled labor you have…hlike a lot of trickle-down effects” and negative economic impacts, Nickey said.