U.S. President Barack Obama highlighted his administration’s progress on wind and solar power in his final State of the Union address – and wants to see more of the same.
In 2009, President Obama launched an economic stimulus package, with billions earmarked for renewable energy and energy efficiency initiatives.
Yesterday, he spoke of the results of that and other initiatives during his term in office.
“In fields from Iowa to Texas, wind power is now cheaper than dirtier, conventional power. On rooftops from Arizona to New York, solar is saving Americans tens of millions of dollars a year on their energy bills, and employs more Americans than coal – in jobs that pay better than average,” he said.
Yesterday we reported the U.S. solar workforce alone grew to a total of nearly 209,000 last year – three times the number employed in the coal mining industry and also more than in the oil and gas extraction industry.
The President also mentioned the new home energy revolution – solar battery storage.
“We’re taking steps to give homeowners the freedom to generate and store their own energy – something environmentalists and Tea Partiers have teamed up to support.”
During his time in office, President Obama has become increasingly vocal regarding his attitude to the fossil fuel sector. In 2013, he proposed billions more be ploughed into renewable energy while eliminating $4 billion in fossil fuels subsidies.
While he’s had little success on the fossil subsidy front, his attitude hasn’t changed.
“Now we’ve got to accelerate the transition away from dirty energy. Rather than subsidize the past, we should invest in the future — especially in communities that rely on fossil fuels. That’s why I’m going to push to change the way we manage our oil and coal resources, so that they better reflect the costs they impose on taxpayers and our planet,” he said.
On the issue of climate change, he again displayed his contempt for “climate deniers”.
“Look, if anybody still wants to dispute the science around climate change, have at it. You’ll be pretty lonely, because you’ll be debating our military, most of America’s business leaders, the majority of the American people, almost the entire scientific community, and 200 nations around the world who agree it’s a problem and intend to solve it.”
The full transcript of the address can be viewed here.
Last year, President Obama unveiled his Clean Energy Plan, which aims to see 30% more renewable energy generation in 2030 and cheaper power bills.
“But even if the planet wasn’t at stake; even if 2014 wasn’t the warmest year on record – until 2015 turned out even hotter – why would we want to pass up the chance for American businesses to produce and sell the energy of the future?.” U.S. President Barack Obama, State of the Union address, 2016.