Where Do the Presidential Candidates Stand on Energy Issues?

by Bob Shively, Enerdynamics President and Lead Facilitator democrats x republicans

As we get deeper into the presidential election season, the current candidates offer very clear and differing views on what is the right energy path for America. There are two extreme ends of the spectrum:

  • One extreme, represented by Bernie Sanders, is that the U.S. needs to rapidly move away from fossil fuels and nuclear power, move to 100% renewables, and take strong action on climate change.

  • The polar opposite, represented by Donald Trump, is that America can only become strong again by focusing on fossil fuels and nuclear power and recognizing that the concept of man-made climate change is a “hoax.”

Here is where the candidates sit on the spectrum:  

To get a better understanding of each candidate’s views, let’s look at the stance each candidate has taken on specific energy issues as cited in their campaign websites, public statements, voting records, and debate responses.

Issue 1: Overall Policy

  • Sanders — Supports 100% renewables including phase out of nuclear power
  • Clinton — Strongly favors clean energy development, but also supports ongoing use of traditional sources with appropriate regulation
  • Kasich — Believes in mix of fossil fuels and clean energy
  • Cruz — Welcomes all energy sources, but opposes regulation and subsidies; wants government policy to encourage fossil fuel production
  • Trump — Believes in expanding fossil fuel production and nuclear power

Issue 2: Renewables

  • Sanders — States goal is to drive America to 100% clean energy; supports the Production Tax Credit (PTC)
  • Clinton — Strongly supports; policy calls for 50 million solar panels in first term (seven-fold increase over existing) and within 10 years enough renewable energy to power every home in America; supports PTC
  • Kasich — OK with renewables subsidies; supported Ohio’s current renewable portfolio standard (RPS), but he doesn’t make renewables a big piece of his platform
  • Cruz — Says we should pursue but only when it makes economic sense without any subsidy
  • Trump — Believes clean energy initiatives endanger lower- and middle-class jobs by increasing the cost of energy; at times says he’s OK with subsidies; sued to block offshore wind projects near one of his golf courses in Scotland; often belittles renewables in speeches

Issue 3: Ethanol mandate

  • Sanders — Supports
  • Clinton — Supports
  • Kasich — Supports
  • Cruz — Proposes five-year phase out
  • Trump — Supports

Issue 4: Fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, oil) 

  • Sanders — Opposes hydraulic fracturing and supports end of fossil fuel leases on public land
  • Clinton — Has stated support for natural gas and said hydraulic fracturing is acceptable if appropriately regulated; recently stated, however, that once hydraulic fracturing is regulated, there may be very few places left for drilling; wants to update infrastructure such as gas pipelines; wants to increase fees and royalties on fossil fuel production
  • Kasich — Strong supporter of hydraulic fracturing but as governor did propose additional taxes on gas and oil
  • Cruz — Wants to foster a “Great American Energy Renaissance” by removing federal obstacles to energy development and removing regulations on fossil fuels; wants to eliminate regulations that adversely impact the coal industry
  • Trump — Supports increased use of fossil fuels and hydraulic fracturing; hopes to resuscitate the coal industry by removing barriers to mining

Next week we’ll look at each candidate’s stance on three more issues: nuclear power, energy efficiency, and climate change regulation.

About Enerdynamics

Enerdynamics was formed in 1995 to meet the growing demand for timely, dynamic and effective business training in the gas and electric industries. Our comprehensive education programs are focused on teaching you and your employees the business of energy. And because we have a firm grasp of what's happening in our industry on both a national and international scale, we can help you make sense of a world that often makes no sense at all.
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One Response to Where Do the Presidential Candidates Stand on Energy Issues?

  1. Pingback: Where Do the Presidential Candidates Stand on Energy Issues? Part II | Enerdynamics

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