This report is in stark contrast to expectations and believes that the Trump Administration is only pro-fossil fuels. Here is a shining example of how a self-funded U.S. goverrnment international finance body is helping to promote and fund green energy projects throughout the world.
A review of documents by Reuters show that the Trump Administration has doubled financial support for solar power projects overseas in 2017 under a climate-friendly investment policy written by the Obama administration.
The U.S. government support for foreign solar power projects comes midst a federal investigation into past U.S. solar loans abroad.
Investment documents show that an arms of the U.S. government’s international finance body, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), has loaned more than $630 million to foreign energy projects in 2017, 90% of which is allocated solar, wind, or other low-carbon ventures.
In 2016, OPIC financed energy projects to the tune of $797 million, of which 61% is clean energy.
As per OPIC’s website, it is a self-funded government agency whose aims is to advance “U.S. foreign policy and national security priorities” by investing in ventures abroad.
For the last 4 decades, OPIC’s operations have not cost a dime or penny to U.S. tax payers.
The U.S. government agency had formalized its preference for green energy through its environmental and social policy statements which were adopted much before Trump took his oath of office.
As per these documents, OPIC aims to support the reduction of dirty, polluting greenhouse gas emissions while promoting the use of low and zero-carbon fuels and technologies.
Although OPIC’s aims and efforts appear to suggest that they go against the grains of the Trump Administration’s agenda to promote coal and oil firms; Trump did sign an executive order which requires government agencies to reduce the influence of climate considerations in their decision making process; further he has also withdrawn the U.S. from the international pact aimed at fighting climate change and global warming.
However, it is noteworthy to know that Trump has never proposed repealing federal incentives worth billions of dollars for renewable energy sector; in fact in December, the Republican-controlled Congress preserved that tax legislation.
Trump has however expressed skepticism about the viability of solar and wind technologies, saying they are both “very, very expensive.”
According to Andrea Orr, OPIC’s spokeswoman, the agency is continuing to follow the low-carbon policy enacted by the Obama administration and mentioned that its portfolio is “demand driven”, which mirrors a global shift to low carbon energy sources.
She however clarified, that this policy however, “does not prohibit OPIC from considering the full spectrum of energy projects,” especially in impoverished nations where fossil fuels sources are the most feasible options.
Incidentally, in 2017, as part of his budget proposal, Trump tried to eliminate OPIC saying it will help “to reduce unnecessary federal interventions that distort the free market”; the Congress however rejected the idea.