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Obama 2.0 – Energy Friend or Foe?

After billions of dollars, countless advertisements, national debates, campaign stops, and kissed babies along the way, the US Presidential election finally came to a close on Tuesday with Barack Obama retaining his role as Commander in Chief.  Surviving a hard-fought battle from challenger Mitt Romney, President Obama will certainly have a full array of issues to contend with in the next four years; defense spending, foreign affairs, a historically-high unemployment rate for re-election, women’s rights, and the economy will all loom large, with many problems requiring immediate action.

But what will be done in the next four years about Obama’s policies on energy?

If all goes to plan, according to Reuters predictions, the President will continue moving towards harsher energy regulations.

Coal energy will arguably be hit the hardest, as Obama has made pledges to remove $46 billion in subsidies for an industry that must already endure up to 33 gigawatts of coal-fired electricity being retired from the grid due to the President’s emission restrictions.

Oil and gas companies will see a varied aftermath from the next four years, with notable positives and negatives to consider.  The President plans to strengthen restrictions, specifically in regards to rules and regulations with energy exploration, which will potentially cost billions of dollars to institute.  On the other hand, there’s a strong possibility that the Keystone XL project, which was scrapped earlier in Obama’s first term mostly for environmental concerns, will be brought back into the forefront of discussion in the next few months.  A policy is likely to be set in place for the project to get up and running, creating thousands of jobs for the economy and allowing Texas to get its hands on Canadian crude oil.

Speaking of jobs, natural gas will also see substantial growth as the leading candidate to replace the gap left from coal energymoving forward.  The question for the next four years in the fracking industry has morphed from ‘Are we going to see growth in natural gas?’ to ‘What can we do to regulate the industry and ensure environmental safety?’  With over 1.7 million jobs being created in 2012 by fracking, Obama will be put on the hot seat to keep the industry flourishing but with appropriate levels of regulation and export quantities.  Catering to environmentalists and businessmen alike will be one of the toughest challenges to come for Barack Obama.

On the flip side, conversations regarding renewable energies will have new life after the devastating effects of superstorm Sandy bringing global warming back into the spotlight.  Throw in the fact that Obama has maintained firm support of wind and solar energy throughout his term in office, and the potential is there to see more development.

However, despite the current lobbying to embark upon great change, it appears as though renewable energies will still be entrenched in a tough battle to maintain relevance in Obama’s second term.  The fact that neither the Senate nor the House of Representatives switched their respective control of power will indicate that any policy set into action by Obama will meet very similar resistance to what it has met in previous years.

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