Renewable Energy Sector Remains Optimistic Amid Trump Policy Outlook

This article on npr gives a general overview of the renewable energy sector under Trump. The article argues that the renewable energy sector will be fine under the Trump administration. Renewable energy has gained so much momentum over the past decade that will allow the industry to succeed in the future. The article emphasizes that costs of wind and solar have gone down a lot over the past decade and will continue to fall because they are technologies. It also discusses some hurtles that could slow down the growth of renewables. These include canceling the industry’s tax cut and removing the clean power plan. The article then sums up that the federal level isn’t the only influence on this industry; the state level has a lot of power in shaping the future of the energy sector.

I thought this article gave a good summary of the concerns in renewable energy. It really didn’t go into depth on any issue. I think that it could have included more quotes from sources. Some more quotes from political leaders could have helped to show the government’s view of the story.

I thought the lede, nut graph, and kicker were all short but they were effective. The lede did a good job of describing the situation of an uncertain future of the industry with Trump’s quote on solar being too expensive. The nut graph then describes the reasons for optimism with cost being 70 percent cheaper today (maybe more statistics could have been used). The kicker then does a good job of linking the articles perspective on the US to optimism in the renewable energy industry in the rest of the world with a specific reference to Dubai.

Do you think listening to the article’s audio recording or reading the text is more effective? Do you think more statistics could have been used in the nut graph? Should more quotes from sources be used, and what other sources would help the article? The article describes reasons for optimism, then discusses some reasons for concern, and clears up those concerns; is this a good way to format the argument?

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11 Responses to “Renewable Energy Sector Remains Optimistic Amid Trump Policy Outlook”

  1. I thought this was a pretty good, if slightly short article. I think that a visual of solar prices over time, and a little more than just a brief mention of wind power. I think that this article downplays the impact of the president’s energy policies, especially given that the main focus is on a California-based company; of COURSE they’re going to be okay, the market for renewables in CA is huge. There’s no mention of more rural and red states, where solar and wind power companies could have used the Clean Power Plan subsidies to make their regions less dependent on fossil fuels. As a short, optimistic segment revealing that the future of clean energy is not entirely bleak, this article does a good job, but it’s not telling the whole story.

  2. Good article! Funny because I was just telling someone about this exact situation. I also loved Al’s comment about it not including the whole story, though, so true. About the audio: when I go on a news site to read news, I only read news. I didn’t even notice the link until I read your question. Maybe if it was a video I would have watch it, but if I wanted to listen to something I would listen to a podcast. Harsh but true. I definitely would have included a better nut graph as well because there are so many cool statistics like how much things cost, which states are most affected, etc. Trump isn’t the greatest. Not my favorite. He’s just not. I would like to see more sources as well because Wheeler was the only person interviewed.

  3. Al hit on many great points and weaknesses about this article. The short length could have been the reason why they did not go in depth on some of the issues discussed throughout the piece. A graph of decreased prices would have been superb, especially in addition to more quotes from officials in the government. I also would have liked if the author described some of the members of the cabinet and their connection to oil and gas in detail. This would have added to the importance of the story.

    I also did not like how the article started to say how dire of a situation this is, then later in the article suggest that the administration will not have a great impact on renewable energy businesses. I felt that the news feature only included this part in the beginning in order to draw readers in, when in fact it was not an accurate representation of the issue. Nevertheless, journalism is a business, and the way writers frame their piece can impact the amount of views they generate on their articles.

  4. I really enjoyed this article and agree with many of the points being made. The author dives into the nut graph pretty quickly but I think he effectively shows the dilemma faced by renewable energy sources. Renewable energy is becoming an economic trend, as stated in the article, clean energy is no longer a niche anymore. Despite many efforts by the Trump administration to keep fossil fuels subsidies and thriving, the overall market force at play is in the direction of renewables. Looking at the recent history of renewable energies, we can see a major reduction in costs. This inherently creates an optimistic future for renewable energies. Overall, I thought the article was very well written and to the point. More statistics that show the performance of the renewable industry might help but the article into scope as well.

  5. Hi Andrew! Thanks for posting this article. I agree that this article was a good summary on where many energy issues currently stand. However, I did not really like how the article was written. The lede and nut graph were super short and were not effective in my opinion. Very few stats were present in the article. It kept mentioning the price of solar energy, but never gave a dollar amount, just that it fell 70% over the past decade. It would have been nice to see some actual costs or maybe comparisons of the cost of solar energy to that of wind or traditional fossil fuels, in order to give readers perspective. Cost is a big factor in which why we are not moving more towards renewable energy sources, so seeing dollar amounts, not just percentages, in the article seems appropriate. Beyond this, I thought the article was choppy and jumped around a lot, not really having a clear flow. At the end of the article, repeal of the Clean Power Plan was mentioned, and the author briefly talked about how even if it goes away, states would likely still keep their benchmark goals in place. Expanding more on this would have been beneficial since this is going to affect the people in those states! The end of the article talks a lot about how renewable energy is not going anywhere but does not give any sort of stats. I think overall, more stats would be the most beneficial addition to this article, as well as a better flow.

  6. It honestly irritated me to read another unsubstantiated quote from Trump about his knowledge of solar energy and what kinds of problems it’s facing without providing any real context. I would have liked some more in depth commentary from either him or someone else high in his administration on this issue. I’m glad to see an article like this however that does give some hope for the future of renewable energies with Trump in charge. I like how they included the stat about California’s renewable use, but I would have liked more info about what other states are implementing. Overall it was a pretty barren article like you said, without many stats or particularly gripping quotes.

  7. evanhoopingarner Reply April 4, 2017 at 10:33 pm

    I found it interesting that the sentiments of Dan Bishop (of Consumer’s Energy) seemed to be echoed by pretty much everyone here – that a shift to renewable energy will happen, it’s only a matter of how quickly, and that hostile federal policy could lead to increased state-level policy.

    As for structure/audio, I think the brevity of the lede, nut graph, and kicker is a result of the story needing to be presented via both writing and radio. I also found it interesting that the first two paragraphs were the NPR introduction to a report by one of their member stations, which meant that there were almost two ledes in the story. I think the written article could have easily started at the third paragraph (where the member station report started) to remove that redundancy.

    I think they didn’t include a graph because it would then have to be absent from the radio format, but I think that if this story were solely in print then a graphic would have been a welcome addition. As for more quotes from more people, I think that stories presented through the radio format are more pressed for time than written pieces, since people tend to read faster than radio hosts can speak. Maybe the longer podcast format would be able to provide a more in-depth examination while remaining audio-based.

  8. I thought this was interesting and reminded me of the guest speaker we had from consumers energy earlier in the semester. Especially how it explains that renewable energy is more cost efficient and will only become more so with time. I appreciated the nut graph, I think it tells the right amount of information without telling us too much. Though, perhaps more could have given us a wider view, I don’t think more was necessary for such a short news story. The kicker was powerful I felt, showing a persevering close for renewable energy despite any other factors. Thanks for sharing!

  9. I appreciated the formatting and felt the flow of the piece was enjoyable. It was nice to see pros and cons seamlessly integrated to create a smooth piece.

    The article was bite-sized, which is something I really appreciate. There were plenty of hyperlinks that could lead the ready in multiple directions if they want to get a better understanding of specific issues (i.e. solar subsidies or the Clean Power Plan). I think this is really good journalism because it gets the point across without having to go into grave detail.

  10. Thanks for this post, Andrew! I thought the article was informative and very readable. I agree wholeheartedly with the comments about the lack of statistics, though – in particular,I would have liked to see the price points for different types of energy (wind, solar, oil, gas). Paragraph 8 mentions that utility companies are beginning to choose renewables on cost alone, but I am hesitant to believe this without the numbers as they compare to non-renewable sources.

    I am impressed that the author was able to build a cohesive, informative story with just two interviews (Wheeler and Kammen), but I would have liked to see more sources – especially opposing viewpoints, such as those of oil and gas companies, of politicians against the Clean Power Plan, or of utility companies who want to switch to renewable but can’t because of cost.

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