by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The CEO of one the largest developers of wind and solar farms in the country is warning Congress to not “squander” an opportunity to boost his industry, which must scale rapidly to achieve domestic climate goals and catch competitors such as China.
Sheldon Kimber’s San Francisco-based Intersect Power is poised for growth after developing more than 1.7 gigawatts of solar projects across California and Texas in its first three years of existence. It is expanding into new markets enabled by cheap renewable power with another 4 gigawatts of projects planned to be developed by 2023, including green hydrogen and direct air capture.
“The thesis of our business is we are not just a renewables company but aim to be vertically integrated to include industries of tomorrow,” Kimber told the Washington Examiner.
Kimber, 43, says a massive amount of renewable energy in the United States will remain on the sidelines unless federal policymakers take a pair of “simple steps.”
“We are in a good position regardless of what happens,” Kimber said. “The issue becomes what more we as an industry can do. We have a tremendous opportunity as a country to assert geopolitical and industrial leadership we haven’t had for many years.”
The bipartisan infrastructure agreement advancing in the Senate and endorsed by President Joe Biden contains billions in funding to scale up emerging clean energy technologies.
It does little, however, to help the proven bread and butter of the green energy sector, wind and solar power, that are spreading rapidly and cheaper than natural gas in some parts of the country but need to grow massively to meet Biden’s target of using 100% carbon-free power by 2035.
Kimber says Biden and Democrats in Congress in a subsequent larger climate-focused infrastructure bill must deliver on their pledge to boost clean energy tax subsidies and require electric utilities to generate power from nonpolluting sources in order to achieve the president’s goals.