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Monday, 27 July 2015

Meanwhile, in the US...



Okay, so enough about the UK. To be pretty honest, since the Tory wrecking ball started swinging a couple of weeks ago, I am feeling like there's not too much left to destroy in the UK at the moment, so its fairly heartening to see Hilary Clinton spreading a positive message in the US. At least the Americans seem to be getting on with stuff, in spite of the loopy Republicans.

Part of Clinton's plan involves the installation of half a billion solar panels by 2021. That seems to me to be fairly impressive to say the least. As ThinkProgress explains, that's a 700 percent increase on current installations. Clinton also intends to fight the Republican attempt to destroy the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan and she also wants to encourage innovation with a Clean Energy Challenge for cities, states and rural communities.

“We can make a transition over time from a fossil fuel economy, predominantly, to a clean renewable energy economy, predominantly” Clinton said.


Hilary Clinton's renewable energy plans

How would she fund this?

Partly, through extending and strengthening tax breaks for renewable industries she says. However, there is a problem, a pretty big one in fact. It seems many of her backers are connected to the fossil fuel sector or indeed were at one time or another. Clinton's opponents have also pointed out her support for the controversial Keystone XL pipeline as well as for domestic gas production.

Clinton revealed her plans while on a visit to Iowa. This is a state that is actively engaged in building wind farms and also produces ethanol for green motoring. At present, 28 percent of Iowa's electricity demand is met by wind power, closely following Texas, the current front runner in wind energy. On a national level, renewable energy provides just 13 percent of American electricity. The Clean Power Plan would boost that to 25 percent by 2027. Clinton's plan would take that figure to 33 percent.

Brad Plumer, writing on the Vox website, thinks that such a plan is 'not implausible', given that US solar energy grew by 418 percent between 2010 and 2014. However, there would be numerous technical challenges relating to how the grid would cope with all the new sources of intermittent renewable power. Some of these challenges are explained in greater detail by David Roberts, but the point is that at least Clinton has a vision, which is certainly more than the Tories have got over here in the UK.

Sources:
ThinkProgress
Bloomberg Politics 
Vox

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