5 Problems With Hillary’s Energy Platform That Could Leave You In The Dark

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Andrew Follett Energy and Science Reporter
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Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton officially became the presidential nominee of the Democratic party last week, so The Daily Caller News Foundation decided to examine her energy platform.

Clinton’s platform for the 2016 election, which is listed on the official website of the Democratic National Convention, totally overturns the Democratic party’s previous platform, doesn’t mention energy sources that provide more than half of America’s electricity and calls for green energy to grow at an unrealistic rate.

Without further ado, here are the top five problems with Clinton’s energy platform.

1: The Platform Trashes Obama’s “All Of The Above” Energy Policy.

The Democratic Party’s 2016 platform does away with President Barack Obama’s calls for an “all of the above” energy policy.

The phrase “all of the above” does not appear once in the 2016 platform, but the phrase “clean energy,” referring to wind and solar power, appears 27 times and references positive phrases such as “jobs,” “economy,” “superpower,” and “leadership.” The document dedicates an entire section of its table of contents to “Creating Good-Paying Clean Energy Jobs.”

The 2012 Democratic platform embraced an energy policy that sought to develop all of America’s energy resources, including wind, solar, biofuels, geothermal, nuclear, oil, clean coal, and natural gas. Obama’s campaign even ran political ads attacking former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for saying that “coal kills people” in 2003, and the campaign highlighted Obama’s commitment to coal power.

The party’s “all of the above” policy was struck from a draft of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) platform shortly before the convention under pressure from anti-fracking activists and environmental groups.

2: Clinton Forgot About Nuclear Power Entirely

The Democratic 2016 platform doesn’t mention nuclear power in its wide-ranging discussion of global warming, even though nuclear doesn’t emit carbon dioxide (CO2).

The draft platform includes 24 mentions of the word “nuclear,” but only follows that with phrases like “annihilation,” “weapon,” and “warhead.” The phrases “nuclear energy” or “nuclear power” never appear in the platform.

Nuclear power provides 20 percent of all the electricity used in America, while wind and solar only provide a mere 4.7 and 0.6 percent respectively. Nuclear also accounts for 63 percent of non-carbon dioxide (CO2) emitting power sources. The average single nuclear reactor prevents 3.1 million tons of CO2 emissions annually. It would take more than 100 years for solar to replace the electricity we currently obtain from existing nuclear plants, according to calculations performed by the National Review.

Most scientists and engineers agree that nuclear power is actually extremely beneficial to the environment.

Clinton previously claimed to be “agnostic about nuclear power” in the 2007 YouTube Democratic Primary debate, but chasitized her own supporters as “science deniers” during this election for opposing nuclear power.

3: The Platform Ignores Energy Storage, Which Green Energy Can’t Work Without

The phrases “energy storage,” “storage,” “battery” and “batteries” do not appear in Clinton’s platform.

America has less than 1 percent of the energy storage capacity necessary for wind and solar to meet Clinton’s goal of powering the country entirely off green energy by 2050, according to an analysis of federal data by TheDCNF.

TheDCNF previous examined Energy Information Administration data regarding energy storage and found the country only has the capacity to store 21,378 megawatts of energy, 99 percent of which is done by pumping water up a hill. Wind and solar power advocates who endorsed Clinton openly acknowledge green energy only works if there’s a method of storing power for times when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing with batteries, but haven’t thought about where America will store the 3,260,000 megawatts of energy it used in 2013.

Even though America is producing more energy than ever before thanks to a boom in oil and natural gas, energy storage hasn’t increased fast enough to make wind or solar power feasible. America also isn’t building enough storage capacity to change this fundamental equation — adding a mere 221 megawatts of storage capacity in 2015.

4: The Platform Is Extremely Unclear About Its Position On Fracking

Clinton’s platform says relatively little about hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, reflecting her repeated policy changes regarding the issue.

The platform only states Democrats are interested in “ensuring tough safeguards are in place” regarding fracking and that the process “should not take place where states and local communities oppose it.”

These restrictions on fracking are far less than environmental groups wanted. Bill McKibben, the co-founder of the environmental group, wanted to have the Democratic platform include an outright ban on fracking, but the drafting committee spiked his proposals by a vote of seven to six. When it became clear that the platform change would fail, environmentalist in the audience began yelling “shame on you” and “shame” at the committee members.

Clinton, however, has a personal history of publicly opposing fracking while privately supporting it.

The Intercept published emails in May that suggest Clinton made promoting fracking for natural gas abroad a major priority during her tenure as secretary of state. Clinton and State Department officials worked closely with private sector oil and gas companies to lobby the White House to promote fracking. She also helped advise world leaders on the benefits of fracking, connected them with American energy experts, and organized visits to drilling sites in America to make it a role model for fracking around the world.

5: Clinton Wants Half The Country To Run On Green Energy In A Decade

The DNC’s platform now calls the nation run “entirely on clean energy by midcentury,” with a goal of “getting 50 percent of our electricity from clean energy sources within a decade.” Though the platform never defines what constitutes a “clean” source, wind and solar energy are the only “clean” sources that can significantly expand.

Last year, wind and solar power only accounted for 4.7 and 0.6 percent of all electricity generated in America respectively, according to data from the federal Energy Information Administration. Wind power provided substantially more electricity, but has grown at a slow rate while solar produced far less electricity, but has grown at a much faster rate.

Even in the unlikely event that both wind and solar power continue their very high growth rates, they will only provide 6.41 and 4.56 percent of America’s electricity by the deadline. Hydropower and biofuels account for 6 and 1.6 percent of all electricity generated last year, but both are increasingly targeted by the green movement, difficult to rapidly expand and dependent upon regional conditions. That’s only about 18 percent, which is far short of Clinton’s goal.

America isn’t even close to getting enough energy from wind and solar power to achieve Clinton’s goal, despite extremely lucrative subsidies, according to an analysis of federal data conducted earlier this month by The DCNF.

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