Elon Musk, recently selected as a strategic advisor for President-elect Donald Trump, seems hopeful the next administration may be more open to renewable energy than we think. Speaking at the Gigafactory this week, he said we may “see surprising things” from the Trump administration. Even though the President-elect likely won’t be hard on fossil fuels, said Musk, his administration may be “positive on renewables.”
After Trump’s tech meeting at Trump Tower last month, which was attended by executives like Apple CEO Tim Cook and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, the President-elect picked the Tesla and SpaceX CEO as a strategic advisor. Many people welcomed Musk’s selection, hoping it was a good sign Trump was willing to have someone so outspoken on climate change as an advisor.
But don’t get too excited – Musk made it clear Trump hasn’t reversed his fossil fuel-loving stance. In a Gigafactory event with investors, Musk reportedly said, “The President-elect has a strong emphasis on U.S. manufacturing and so do we. We are building the biggest factory in the world right here, creating U.S. jobs…I think we may see some surprising things from the next administration. We don’t think they will be negative on fossil fuels…but they may also be positive on renewables.”
Trump may go easy on the fossil fuel industry. He may be closed-minded about a carbon tax – an idea Musk recently championed in Leonardo DiCaprio’s Before the Flood documentary – but the President-elect might be unable to stop the progress towards a clean energy economy as solar and wind prices plummet.
Tesla employs over 25,000 people in the United States, according to Electrek, and aims to add 1,000 jobs at a New York solar panel factory, 3,000 jobs at a California factory, and 6,500 jobs at the Gigafactory. As it would be irrational and irresponsible for Trump to turn his back on a growing industry that could greatly benefit the economy and the environment, job creation could be Musk’s trump card.