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Energy and Politics: Solar Energy and the 2012 Presidential Race

One of the hottest topics in the upcoming 2012 Presidential elections is energy, and how each candidate views this all-important issue. Currently, Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama are polarized on this issue – making it a hot topic in the minds of potential voters. While both men seem to have concern for the environment, their views are widely separated in regards to how the Federal government should be involved in the nation’s energy crisis.

President Obama has supported solar and wind energy, but has resisted drilling on our own soil. Romney believes the government should allow drilling and allow the private sector to take over most aspects of energy innovation. Romney believes competition among solar and wind companies will keep the American spirit alive and in the long run will stabilize the economy. Obama is certain that government stimulus is necessary to kick-start innovative technology in energy.

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Energy Use

Governor Romney has vowed to commit to change the way America uses energy. He agrees that global warming is taking place, but cautiously believes that man is inherently responsible for the state of the ecosystem. On contrast, Governor Romney clearly supports the use of renewable resources to lower energy consumption and costs. Energy efficiency is a must in order to minimize the dependence on foreign resources. In fact, he has created a policy named “No Regrets” which promotes using renewable energy that can enhance energy independence.

Romney supports the use of both solar and wind, while also recognizing our nation’s need to utilize these innovative ways of energy generation. While it seems that both candidates agree on the support of alternative energy sources, this is where Romney and President Obama differ. Romney believes we should allow the private sector to move forward with innovations and implementations in energy participation. In order for America to become a leader in the way we use energy he supports a hands-off approach by the federal government. Partnerships, innovation, empowerment and reduced regulation are methods that the government can encourage, but not be in charge of.

Energy Independence

Romney has set a goal of helping America move to energy independence in the next eight years. Critics argue that much of his plan focuses mostly on fossil fuels while leaving out the wonders and use of things such as wind and solar. Romney would argue that drilling and expanding resource development is a first line of defense against foreign energy dependence. Without an immediate improvement in the economy through inexpensive energy sources, future growth will be curtailed and the possibility for renewable energy expansion threatened.

Bipartisan Commitment to Energy

No one can question President Obama’s commitment to the environment. President Obama is an advocate of creating new ways to produce and streamline energy use in America. Recently, Obama made statements indicating that dwelling in past technologies without purposeful forward thinking strategies is not in the best interest for America. In general, Obama believes that no stone should be left unturned and that all efforts should be directed towards energy independence. Critics would argue that this shotgun approach leaves too many avenues open and actually limits our ability to pursue responsible sources of energy.

President Obama believes that solar and wind power are stalwart solutions to today’s problem. His recent efforts to stimulate corporate production of these technologies backs up his intentions. His continuous call to “clean energy” maintains an idealistic overtone with a visionary’s passion. Continuous governmental involvement and a steady flow of cash are the bastions of Obama’s plan. His mantra seems to be, pay now or pay later.

But, critics argue that hiscurrent administration is putting money towards solar and wind, which is extremely expensive, while resisting other forms of energy, such as drilling for oil on our own land. President Obama appears to want the Federal government to lead how all of this plays out and keep a hands-on approach in finding solutions. This is an expensive endeavor in a weak economy.

More reading: The Political Guide | Image courtesy of Consumer Energy Report


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