Clinton is pro-solar. Trump is anti-solar. Beyond that, what do we know?
At the time of this writing, the United States is just weeks away from going to the polls to decide the single ugliest election since the civil war. Although the Clinton campaign appears to be opening a widening lead, anything could happen. The bigger question mark is what happens down the ballot, in congressional races and state races. According to the political stat-geeks at fivethirtyeight.com, Democrats will likely gain a few seats in congress, but remain the minority. Safe bets are on a Clinton Presidency and a closely divided House and Senate, but honestly, it wouldn’t be terrible surprising to see the exact opposite transpire.
We can be sure that in terms of federal incentives, a Clinton Presidency would mean more incentives for solar and tighter restrictions on the fossils, while Donald Trump pledges to strangle the renewable industry in it’s cradle and return us to the happy days of coal mine fires, black lung and acid rain. Frankly, no one with any respect for the environment, human health or the American economy could vote for Donald J. Trump with a clean conscience, but much of what Hillary Clinton is presenting as an energy plan is itself pie-in-the-sky campaign rhetoric. If you haven’t dug into the candidates energy policies at this late date, do yourself a favor and read the excellent analysis at Business Insider before you vote.
Here are the two campaign “Action Plans” side by side.
As we can see, Mrs. Clinton’s plan is very much a continuation of the current Obama energy plan. Mr. Trump’s, is a complete and utter repudiation of those policies, with promises to massively expand fossil fuel mining and drilling with as little regulation as possible. Where her plan is dragged down by details that are at times verging on fanciful, his is completely unburdened by specific implementation plans.
Coal is on it’s way out, and even Donald J. Trump can’t will an obsolete technology back into existence. Natural gas and renewables are taking it’s place, and those technologies are where new jobs are going to happen.
By the end of the next presidential term in 2020, the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) will be at the end of its phase-out period. Chances are, neither candidate will have the political horsepower to change that, either by extending it or accelerating its cancellation.