Hillary Clinton sets renewable energy goals to spur more wind, solar power

Hillary Clinton sets renewable energy goals to spur more wind, solar power

Lucy Nicholson

AMES, Iowa (Reuters) - Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton called on Sunday for a dramatic national shift to energy sources such as solar and wind, setting a goal of generating enough clean renewable energy to power every U.S. home within a decade after she takes office.

Clinton, the front-runner for her party's 2016 presidential nomination, also pledged to have more than half a billion solar panels installed nationwide within four years of taking office.

"I want more wind, more solar, more advanced biofuels, more energy efficiency," Clinton said at a rally on Sunday in Ames, Iowa. "And I’ve got to tell you, people who argue against this are just not paying attention."

The two goals, announced in a video on Sunday night, were the first elements of what Clinton said would be a comprehensive climate-change agenda to be released over the next few months.

Clinton has been under pressure from Democratic presidential rival Senator Bernie Sanders, a self-styled socialist who has called for swift action on climate change, and environmental activists anxious to see her spell out details of a climate plan.

Her campaign said the goals would lead to a 700 percent increase in the nation's installed solar capacity from current levels, and eventually could lead to the generation of at least one third of all electricity from renewable sources.

Clinton also called for extending federal clean energy tax incentives and making them more cost effective. In Ames, Clinton said she would continue the wind production tax credit and recalibrate other tax incentives that are "too heavily weighted ... toward fossil fuels."

Clinton also said she would fight efforts to roll back President Barack Obama's executive actions to curb carbon emissions from power plants. She said the actions could build a "clean energy economy" that would bolster growth.

"If we start addressing it, we're going to actually be creating jobs and new businesses," she said.

Clinton will discuss the proposals on Monday at an energy-efficient transit station in Iowa, the state that kicks off the 2016 presidential nominating race and is a leading wind energy producer.

Clinton praised Iowa for promoting wind energy and advanced biofuels, and for establishing state tax rebates for installing solar panels in homes and businesses.

She criticized Republicans who are reluctant to say climate change is a man-made phenomenon.

"They will answer any question about climate change by saying: ‘I’m not a scientist.’ Well, I’m not a scientist either. I’m just a grandmother with two eyes and a brain and I know we’re facing a huge problem," Clinton said.

(Writing by John Whitesides; Additional reporting by Kay Henderson; Editing by Eric Walsh and Cynthia Osterman)