Rooftop, Solar

Listen Up: Presidential Energy Politics

We’re in the midst of a bizarre presidential election. And a global energy transition driven by both economics and climate change. So where do Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton stand with their plans for our energy future?

Fortunately, the platforms of both parties were published this July, and are very specific about their respective goals for the U.S.’s energy future. Not surprisingly, the republican platform wants to kill the Clean Power Plan (which calls for the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 32 percent by 2025), use more coal (which the platform arbitrarily characterizes as “clean”), ease nuclear permitting, prevent taxes on carbon, state that the environment is too important to leave to radical environmentalists, and solve environmental problems with human ingenuity and the development of new technology. On the other hand, the democrat platform wants to get 50 percent of our electricity from clean energy sources in a decade, install half a billion solar panels in four years, generate enough renewable energy to power every home in the country, eliminate tax breaks for fossil fuel companies, and oppose efforts by utilities to limit consumer choices for clean energy deployment.

Hillary Clinton is completely aligned with the democrat’s energy platform; it is apparent that she and her team had influence in writing the platform itself. However, Donald Trump’s energy position is at times very different than that of the republican party; he goes with his gut. As a result, it would not surprise me at all that, if he were to be elected, Trump would turn into a big supporter of solar power.

Pretty much the only thing the Republican and Democrat platforms agree on is that we need new energy technologies — but we should not play favorites with particular technologies. Except, of course, with their preferred technologies. Nevertheless,  regardless of what the politicians say, the economics of energy generation and distribution will ultimately have the biggest impact on the outcome. For more about presidential energy politics and the specific positions of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, Listen Up to this week’s Energy Show on Renewable Energy World.

About the Energy Show

As energy costs consume more and more of our hard-earned dollars, we as consumers really start to pay attention. But we don’t have to resign ourselves to $5/gallon gas prices, $200/month electric bills and $500 heating bills. There are literally hundreds of products, tricks and techniques that we can use to dramatically reduce these costs — very affordably.

The Energy Show on Renewable Energy World is a weekly 20-minute podcast that provides tips and advice to reduce your home and business energy consumption. Every week we’ll cover topics that will help cut your energy bill, explain new products and technologies in plain English, and cut through the hype so that you can make smart and cost-effective energy choices. 

About Your Host

energyBarry Cinnamon is a long-time advocate of renewable energy and is a widely recognized solar power expert. In 2001 he founded Akeena Solar — which grew to become the largest national residential solar installer by the middle of the last decade with over 10,000 rooftop customers coast to coast. He partnered with Westinghouse to create Westinghouse Solar in 2010, and sold the company in 2012.

His pioneering work on reducing costs of rooftop solar power systems include Andalay, the first solar panel with integrated racking, grounding and wiring; the first UL listed AC solar panel; and the first fully “plug and play” AC solar panel. His current efforts are focused on reducing the soft costs for solar power systems, which cause system prices in the U.S. to be double those of Germany.

Although Barry may be known for his outspoken work in the solar industry, he has hands-on experience with a wide range of energy saving technologies.  He’s been doing residential energy audits since the punch card days, developed one of the first ground-source heat pumps in the early ‘80s, and always abides by the Laws of Thermodynamics.

Lead image credit: Patrick Breitenbach | Flickr