Biden Solar Plans Push America’s Energy Dependence onto Foreign Countries

Biden Solar Plans Push America’s Energy Dependence onto Foreign Countries

April 21, 2021

The Biden Administration has a major dilemma on its hands. The Administration’s goal to make America’s electricity grid 100% carbon-free by 2035 may require the United States to double its annual pace of solar installations. But as The New York Times reports:

The dilemma stems from an uncomfortable reality: China dominates the global supply chain for solar power, producing the vast majority of the materials and parts for solar panels that the United States relies on for clean energy. And there is emerging evidence that some of China’s biggest solar companies have worked with the Chinese government to absorb minority workers in the far western region of Xinjiang, programs often seen as a red flag for potential forced labor and human rights abuses.

Unfortunately, these are the types of risks that come when you seek to make the United States dependent on other countries for electricity. A strong, domestic supply of energy is not only important for consumers and businesses, it’s important for workers. America’s oil and gas industry has been a boon to American workers, providing them with well-paying jobs.

Government statistics back this up. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the “high-paying jobs” being created in the solar and wind industries pay on average between $60,000 to $70,000 less than similar jobs in the oil and gas industry. In a previous blog earlier this month, Power The Future discussed the drastic pay gap:

The Wall Street Journal reported that pay for a Phillips 66 median worker, for example, was $196,407 in 2018.

Compare that to the $53,000 annual salary of a wind turbine service technician, the fastest-growing job category in the U.S., according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The annual salary of a solar installer, third on the fastest-growing list, is even worse, with a median salary of about $45,000.

Rick Levy, president of the Texas AFL-CIO, said, “Someone working in a refinery leaving to go install solar panels, they’re probably going to take a 75 percent cut in pay. A transition sounds like a fancy name for a funeral.”

While the Biden Administration paints an idyllic image of their ‘no carbon’ electricity grid, the future is staring us right in the face. These plans mean lower-paying jobs here at home, while making America more dependent on foreign countries for our energy supply.