Following on last week's Trump episode, Sean O'Reilly and Taylor Muckerman are taking a look at Hillary Clinton's platform on energy.
Listen in to find out what Clinton plans to change about the energy industry if she's elected -- how much she wants to expand nuclear, solar, and wind; how she plans to help disenfranchised coal families; and more. Also, the hosts talk about which companies would benefit most from Clinton's election, and a few things that long-term investors need to remember about buying into companies based on the promises of electoral candidates.
A full transcript follows the video.
This podcast was recorded on Aug. 18, 2016.
Sean O'Reilly: Last week we talked about Donald Trump's energy plan based upon what he said publicly and on his website, and bottom line cut regulations...
Taylor Muckerman: Cut regulations, all for with coal, all for with fossil fuels. Not trimming everything back renewably, but that's not going to be his focus because what he said was basically, "We're going to focus on resources that are more economically viable at this point in time." Even though solar and wind are coming closer and closer into parity with oil and natural gas, he's choosing to focus on coal and natural gas and oil saying that he wants to bring coal back 100%. To which point of time he's referencing as 100% I don't know, but that was...
O'Reilly: I think that's a reference to the focus as opposed to an actual growth rate.
O'Reilly: In this episode, we wanted to hit, of course, the democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton's energy plan.
Muckerman: Can't talk about one without the other.
O'Reilly: She actually said a lot. Do you want to run it down?
Muckerman: It's almost a mirror image of Donald Trump's plans. She's all in on solar. She wants a half-billion solar panels by 2020, which would be a 700% increase...
O'Reilly: Yeah. I saw that I was like, "That's kind of high."
Muckerman: ...then, renewable energy for every home in the United States. That's in the next decade -- the half-billion panels by the end of her first term, if she's elected, and then the renewable energy for every home in the United States, that's within the next 10 years. All in on renewable energy. Though she is throwing some support toward coal, maybe not in the form of job creation, but she did say that she wants to allocate around $30 billion to make sure that coal families that have been in the business and relying on that for their retirement, she wants to make sure that they're taken care of. As we talked about last week, maybe Trump can help it for the next few years, but these folks need to worry about the next decade.
O'Reilly: Coal plants are being shut down, is the bottom line.
Muckerman: Right. We talked about coal plants becoming more efficient per miner, coal production in the United States peaking about a decade ago, coal employment peaking in the '80s. I think that that might actually be more beneficial for these coal families to have this money set aside to make sure that if a coal company goes into bankruptcy, the government might be able to step in and make sure that your retirement plan and your health insurance are still active.
O'Reilly: It was kind of a top-down thing, because she starts off her energy plan on her website. It's blatant. You can find it easily. She's talked about climate change. She talked about meeting the Paris Accords that were recently agreed to and getting U.S. emissions down between 26% and 28% below 2005 levels by 2025, so it's nine years from now.
Muckerman: I believe Donald Trump wants to completely abandon the Paris Accords and stop giving money to the U.N. for climate change initiatives.
O'Reilly: She would go around and give these speeches, like she would say, "Bill Clinton's going to be doing a lot of economics-type things and he'd be focusing on coal country and stuff."
Muckerman: You have to figure that he's a resource she's going to use.
Muckerman: Looking at her climate change, she wants to reduce American oil use by about a third and then continue to rely on nuclear power. It's about 20% of our U.S. power generation now. It's a clean source. It's about 60% of our zero-carbon-emissions power load. You're looking at solar and wind and hydro being another portion of that.
O'Reilly: It's been so interesting to me that other developed countries have been stepping back from nuclear ever since the Japan disaster in 2010 or '11? I think it was '10. Anyway, but you had all these countries shuttering nuclear reactors like, "Do we really want to be doing this?" She's not scared or anything like that.
Muckerman: Trump, in his plan, he said he would allow them to live out their current contract in life, but Hillary wants to try to extend some of these, if not all of them, because they are such an important base load supply of power. Aside from the potential disaster, while they're operating, they're a clean source of power.
Again, you have people arguing about the disposal of the nuclear waste once it's used up. That is obviously an environmental concern, but while they're operating, these are clean sources of power. I feel like I can't remember an incident in the United States where a nuclear power plant was leaking harmful amounts of radiation. If you look at Fukushima, that was a terrible confluence of drastic events.
O'Reilly: Tsunamis and earthquakes.
Muckerman: It was a terrible situation.
O'Reilly: You can make the argument, Japan is not the best place to put a nuclear reactor. They are an island.
Muckerman: It's an island. Fair enough.
O'Reilly: On the Ring of Fire.
Muckerman: Yeah. We're relatively safe compared to them. The history, here in the United States, has a great track record.
O'Reilly: Bottom line, it sounds like, I don't know, if and when Hillary Clinton won, it'd be good for renewable energy companies.
Muckerman: Yeah. It seems like she wants to accelerate it, because that 700% growth over the next four years in solar panels is definitely beyond...
O'Reilly: It seems so hard.
Muckerman: ...it's beyond most predictions. I don't know if that's going to be government subsidies or what, how she wants to implement that, but that's the focus. You would expect solar and wind to probably benefit from a Hillary presidency. Again, as we talked about many times at The Fool, these are four- maybe eight-year time frames, and the president doesn't have all-encompassing power. You still have the Supreme Court and both houses of Congress. You're looking at these campaign tactics not always going to work out the way they seem. We don't necessarily encourage investors to invest based on campaign stumping.
O'Reilly: Got it. Bottom line, not surprising, politicians...
Muckerman: It's Republicans, Democrats. Republicans want to support fossil fuels. Democrats want to support renewable fuels.
O'Reilly: This is not surprising.
Muckerman: This is not surprising, no.
Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.