Hillary Clinton has made renewable energy a big part of her election platform, and has some very ambitious plans to reshape the energy landscape of the United States.
As the 2016 election season approaches and the presidential hopefuls start attracting more and more media attention, they’re making big promises about how they will move the country forward if they are elected to office. Energy policy is an important part of any candidate’s platform, and Hillary Clinton has shown her green side by setting ambitious renewable energy goals right from the start. Her energy policy aims to “combat climate change, create jobs, protect the health of American families and communities, and make the United States the world’s clean energy superpower.” She’s already put forward her first two specific goals in a campaign ad on YouTube: to have over half a billion solar panels installed across the country by the end of her first term as president, and to generate enough energy from renewable sources to power every home in America within 10 years of her taking office.
Her proposed expansion of solar power would mean an increase of 700% in the amount of installed solar capacity in the United States, roughly the equivalent of having rooftop solar installations on 25 million homes. And her plan to add more solar, wind, hydroelectric, and geothermal power to the national grid will make the country less dependent on any one form of energy. Diversifying the country’s energy sources is a necessary step towards reducing fossil fuel consumption and its associated environmental impacts.
Engaging America in the Climate Problem
While some other candidates continue to deny that there’s a looming climate crisis, Clinton is going beyond green energy and taking aim at climate change. Her agenda calls for scaling back coal production, reducing oil consumption, and making fossil fuel production safer and cleaner. It also pushes for investment in research and development of infrastructure improvements, energy storage technologies, and carbon capture and sequestration.
She’ll have more to say in the coming months about how she plans to achieve those goals, but it’s clear that she isn’t expecting the federal government to do all the heavy lifting. She also wants to launch a Clean Energy Challenge, getting individual states, cities, and rural communities involved in improving the electrical grid and cleaning up the country’s energy profile. The plan is still light on concrete details, but the Challenge will include competitive grants for communities that exceed the current federal carbon pollution standards, and solar “X-prizes” for communities who can get solar projects working quickly and cost-effectively.
In election campaign season, promises and proposals are often thick with optimism while light on practical details. Hillary Clinton’s renewable energy and climate agenda is full of big, important steps towards cleaner energy and a healthier planet, but it’s not quite clear yet how these steps can be achieved. Hopefully her campaign will move quickly from a list of commendable goals to a concrete action plan – we like where she’s trying to take us, but it’s important to understand how she’s going to get us there.
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