The international trade front has had some important developments over the last few weeks that will likely have significant impacts on the construction of domestic wind, solar, biomass and other types of renewable energy projects. One major development was the announcement of the section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs, where President Trump has informally announced the adoption of the harshest of the remedies recommended by the Department of Commerce – universal tariffs against all products from all companies. As detailed below, the political and business reaction to these tariffs was swift and generally negative (with the not-surprising exception of the aluminum and steel companies and the unions at their plants). Unsurprisingly, these new tariffs will have an impact on the costs associated with any component made with steel or aluminum, such as turbines, racks and tracking systems, and numerous other items, due to the increase in price of steel and aluminum sold in the US.
The details related to the 232 steel and aluminum tariffs are as follows: