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Solar power development relying on Obama win?

12th Oct 2012

If Barack Obama wins the next US presidential election, it will be good news for the Australian solar power sector.

Or so says Tristan Edis, editor for Climate Spectator, who said a Democrat victory is vital if renewables are to continue seeing growth over the coming years.

They may seem like unrelated issues, but Edis has reasons for not trusting a potential Republican takeover - particularly after policies put forward by previous president George W Bush.

Tristan said: "The results of this US election will be critical to the Australian efforts to reduce emissions whether an Australian government is led by the Labor or Liberal parties.

"The amount of money that can be spent on R&D (research and development) into better turbines, better solar cells, better batteries and more fuel-efficient cars is critically dependent on the size of the market for these products."

And according to the expert, without the US acting as a "robust source of demand" for these goods and services, the business case for such investments collapses.

Not only this, US regulatory standards control what clean technology Australia can access.

But why would Obama be better than Republican candidate Mitt Romney? Well, Edis said that if Bush was anything to go by, there could be problems ahead for the global renewables industry.

He cited several instances from Bush Jr's eight years in charge that were a headache for sustainable change supporters.

Bush ignored Environmental Protection Agency advice on introducing a cap-and-trade emissions scheme, Tristan stated, while blocking legislation that would require the Department of Energy to implement new standards of energy efficiency for appliances and vehicles.

The Bush Administration also "fought tooth and nail" against a Supreme Court ruling that confirmed carbon emissions at high levels were a health risk, he noted.

And Romney won't be much better, the editor predicted, as he is already showing evidence of reneging on his - admittedly - environmentally progressive past as the governor of Massachusetts.

While he may have shown an inclination for climate change concerns previously, he is "chained to a party over-run by anti-science religious zealots", Edis concluded.

Conversely, Obama has several environmental credentials under his belt, he added, including the fact solar PV penetration has grown under his leadership and his attempts to pass a cap-and-trade initiative through congress.

The presidential elections are set to take place on November 6 2012, with the most recent Gallup poll showing Romney edging a slight lead.

Posted by Bob Dawson

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