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America's missed TPP moment may harm energy opportunities

Ministers from Vietnam and Japan shaking hands
Vietnam's Trade Minister Tran Tuan Anh and Japan's Economic Revitalization Minister Toshimitsu Motegi at a TPP press conference. Photo: Anthony Wallace / AFP / Getty Images

Eleven countries in the Asia-Pacific will sign the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement this Thursday, while the TPP’s original catalyst — the United States —watches from the sidelines. Of all the groups ruing what could have been, America's advanced energy sector must be left particularly disheartened.

Why it matters: The TPP was expected to reduce costs for imported renewables. Not only will these savings not be realized, but new steel and aluminum tariffs may add around 2 cents per watt to utility-scale solar projects, in addition to the increase of 10 cents per watt from the recent solar tariffs.