Obama Calls for 80% "Clean Energy" by
Feb 16, 2011 - renewableenergyworld.com
U.S. wind energy industry finishes 2010 with half
the installations of 2009, activity up in 2011, now
cost-competitive with natural gas - Feb 16, 2011
- AWEA - energycentral.com
Washington, DC, USA -- In an unprecedented move,
last night U.S. President Barack Obama put clean
energy front and center on the agenda of the American
government -- calling for an 80% clean energy target
In his yearly State of the Union address to the
nation’s lawmakers, Obama said that it is time
for America to invest in the energy of the future
and stop supporting the energy of the past. He called
on Congress to remove all subsidies for fossil fuels
and to reinvest the money saved into clean energy
The President said that he hopes America can obtain
80% of its energy from clean sources by 2035, the
most aggressive target ever set forth by a president.
While renewable energy supporters were thrilled with
the bold target, they were reminded during the speech
that Obama’s idea of clean energy is broad:
His target includes nuclear energy, clean coal and
natural gas, in addition to traditional renewables
like wind, solar, biomass, geothermal and hydro.
“Some folks want wind and solar. Others want
nuclear, clean coal, and natural gas,” he said. “To
meet this goal, we will need them all – and
I urge Democrats and Republicans to work together
to make it happen.”
Here are some reactions from industry leaders:
Denise Bode, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association,
was in the House chamber for the speech and was happy
with the President's call to level the energy playing
“Wind energy can deliver right now on its
promise to deliver new electricity to Americans more
affordably than any other energy source, if we have
a level playing field to compete with the permanent
entitlements that fossil fuels have enjoyed for over
90 years,” Bode said.
She was cautiously optimistic about the broad-based “clean
energy standard," saying that AWEA looks forward
to reviewing the proposal.
“It is important from a jobs perspective to
focus on deploying clean energy sources over the
next few years. Wind energy is ready to go now; we
don’t need to wait nearly three decades,” she
Rhone Resch of the Solar Energy Industries Association
was tweeting during the State of the Union address.
He called the President’s agenda for clean
energy “ambitious,” and said “solar
is ready to do its part to create jobs, innovate
and keep U.S. competing.”
Linda Church Ciocci of the National Hydropower Association
applauded the President’s bold initiatives
and said that hydropower is poised to meet the mandate.
“With the potential to double its contribution,
expanding our hydro resources is key to achieving
the President's vision of the future,” she
said. “We strongly support a national standard
to expand clean and renewable energy that includes
and promotes development of affordable, reliable
and available American hydropower.”
A “clean energy standard” that includes
nuclear and clean coal is a mistake according to
Scott Sklar of The Stella Group, who has written
commentaries on the topic on RenewableEnergyWorld.com.
I hate to put my professor hat on, but excuse me,
how is coal clean? Even if you could sequester carbon,
it emits mercury, carcinogens, requires much water,
emits other greenhouse gases, leaves us with coal
ash waste piles, and drives the blowing-up of our
mountain tops ruining waterways and farmland.
Nuclear energy, with its multi-thousand year wastes,
imported uranium, and susceptibility to terrorism
is another ploy to re-label non-renewable technologies
and ooze them into our brand. This reminds me how
the high fructose corn syrup industry has recently
relabeled itself the “corn sugar” industry
or how the food processing industry is fighting labeling
requirements so that consumers might infer that they
Sklar’s advice to lawmakers has been not to
accept the dilution of clean energy with nuclear
energy and clean coal.
As Congress now buckles down to get to work trying
to implement some of the President's policy initiatives,
it will no doubt be an interesting debate to watch.
The U.S. has failed to pass minimal national clean
energy targets, let alone something so aggressive.
The likelihood of geting something passed this year