Will an Obama administration affect the energy sector differently than a Bush one? Yes. For one, Obama supports a cap-and-trade mechanism (as does McCain) for regulating carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, a major contributor to global warming. He also wants more funding for renewable energy and incentives for businesses in the solar, wind, geothermal and other cleantech sectors.
Obama has stated his support for cleaner coal technologies and nuclear power, so he's unlikely to do something drastic like put a moratorium on them. But take note that companies are still preparing for some sort of change: Yesterday I was at a breakfast meeting where Xcel Energy CEO Dick Kelly keynoted. He said that although Xcel favors a carbon tax to curb emissions rather than cap-and-trade, he expects a cap-and-trade plan will eventually pass Congress. And when it does, he hopes his company will get credit for all the work they've already done with renewables.
In other words, utilities and other companies have been positioning themselves in ways that they hope will help them once federal regulation takes affect. Or better yet, they are positioned to help influence the creation of that regulation.
The rest of world is expecting more global warming action now that the US has a new administration. The Australian publication HeraldSun reports that there's international hope that the U.S. will change its position on the Kyoto treaty with the dawn of a new leader.
Drastic change on renewables and global warming policy may not appear overnight, but with the new administration and leaders on both sides of the aisle, the U.S. may be entering a period of increased support for homegrown energy and a true leadership role on climate change.