In summary

President Trump is a big booster of the country’s fossil fuel sector, pledging to revive the coal industry and advance oil and gas drilling. But given his outspoken skepticism about the dangers of climate change, questions abound about whether he’ll be inclined to keep allocating federal dollars to either support large scale renewable energy projects or to incentives consumers to buy electric cars and install rooftop solar system. California is depending on this kind of federal support to meet its clean energy goals.

President Trump is a big booster of the country’s fossil fuel sector, pledging to revive the coal industry and advance oil and gas drilling. But given his outspoken skepticism about the dangers of climate change, questions abound about whether he’ll be inclined to keep allocating federal dollars to either support large scale renewable energy projects or to incentives consumers to buy electric cars and install rooftop solar system.

Those federal programs have helped to make renewable energy more affordable to Americans and, in California, have been an impetus to propel the state toward its ambitious goals to reduce greenhouse gases. But they also perpetuate what critics have labeled a nanny state, where government interjects itself into the market and tries to influence which products consumers buy.

Currently purchasers of electric vehicles are eligible for up to $7,500 in federal tax credits—a critical incentive if California is to meet Gov. Brown’s intent to decarbonize transportation (he has decreed that 15 percent of the state’s new car fleet will be zero-emission by 2025.) Federal aid also helps homeowners make their homes more energy efficient, a critical component to achieving California’s goal that all buildings operate twice as efficiently by 2030.

Federal grants, loans and tax breaks have been fundamental to bootstrapping California’s robust utility-scale renewable energy industry. Even as some these Treasury and Energy Department programs phase out, the state’s clean energy developers will require subsidies to stay afloat. At the same time, experts parsing the president’s proposed tax overhaul have suggested that cutting corporate tax rates will lessen the need for write-off that drove investors to pour billions into solar companies.

Any lessening of investment in large scale wind, and especially solar, will be a blow to California renewable goals, in a state where legislators will be considering a new bill by Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León that would mandate the state run on 100 percent clean energy by 2045.

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Julie Cart joined CalMatters as a projects and environment reporter in 2016 after a long career at the Los Angeles Times, where she held many positions: sportswriter, national correspondent and environment...