Are Hilary Clinton’s energy policies too hopeful?

Published: 11 Jul 2016 By Grace Kimberley

Hilary Clinton

The world is eager to see the outcome of the US Presidential election, but there is also great apprehension among the American people in terms of what the US will look like in the years to follow. Energy, although a major part of every country’s economy, can often be overlooked due to other economic factors taking more of a front seat. As mentioned in my previous piece, it’s clear that Donald Trump’s policies, energy or not, are leaning more towards fiscal benefits rather than ‘the good of the people’. I guess that’s what we should expect from a successful businessman. Unfortunately, the form of success in terms of the economy doesn’t always function this way. Trump’s policies are not thoughtful to the environment or partnerships with other countries the US trades with. He also wants the US to be completely energy independent, which would mean cutting off vital ties with Canada and Saudi Arabia.

But enough about Trump. I promised a few readers that I would write a post on the subject of Hilary Clinton and her energy policies. I admit that in terms of ethical and environmental decisions, I automatically favour Clinton over Trump. I may be slightly bias... (Yes, I'm referring to the name calling of women... Oink) However, it’s only fair that I pull apart Clinton’s policies in the same way. Although her plans are morally good, that alone doesn’t prove they will aid in America’s energy security.

Hilary Clinton has a strong vision for Renewable Power, which is quite the opposite of Trump’s plans for the industry. The US, although a predominantly fossil fuel leaning country has in the last year rapidly grown its Renewable market. Clinton wants to continue this growth and eventually make the US a predominantly Renewable energy powered nation. She believes that climate change is in fact a huge issue, despite the disregard of this by her opposition.

To do this, Clinton believes that, if elected, she would enable a 700% increase in the US’s installed solar capacity from what it is currently, to eventually allow the US to power at least one third of its electricity from renewable power. This will provide an abundance of Renewable job opportunities. However, Clinton has been compared to Barack Obama in the sense of having a ‘split personality’ when it comes to energy policies, because she also supports the oil and natural gas industry. Many people are looking on this as a ‘Yes man’ approach, to which we can all hold hands and dance across rainbows together. Every industry can benefit from her policies. The trouble is that this can be seen as unrealistic and fabricated. Is it really possible to support every industry in the way that Clinton promises? This is something I can’t predict, as I’m neither in the banking or political industry, but if you look at the current state of the UK’s energy market, it doesn’t seem to be as easy to provide balanced support to every energy sector as planned.

I do, however, agree that Clinton’s approach towards the Renewable energy industry would be brilliant for the US. The US solar industry is positively booming right now and it seems almost silly to throw this away as Trump plans to. It’s even giving China a run for its money! Unfortunately, with these things, if something takes a front seat, other factors will ultimately have to take a step back. I fear that, although Clinton’s policies are genuine commitments, how possible these plans combined will be is not certain. I think many will dissolve after the election, not because Clinton is knowingly promising impossible plans, but because they are extremely hopeful. I do, however, see that there is substance in the return of investment in her policies, so maybe they are realistic. Unfortunately, this isn’t instantaneous. Natural gas is evidently cheaper than solar and wind, especially in the short term, which makes it difficult for renewable energy to compete, even in recent years.

I’m interested to hear your thoughts… How do Clinton’s policies compare with her opposition, Donald Trump’s? Are either candidate’s policies realistic for the US?

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