Declaring that current challenges present this generation’s “Sputnik moment,” President Obama called for high-profile energy goals—including a target of producing 80% of U.S. electricity from clean energy sources by 2035—during his 2011 State of the Union address on the evening of Jan. 25.
Besides the need to break the nation’s oil dependency, Obama set forth a vision for one million electric vehicles on the road by 2015 and providing access to high-speed rail for 80% of Americans within 25 years. The President stressed continued investment by the federal government into science and research, and said that his budget proposal will ask Congress to increase clean energy technology funding by a third compared to 2010. The increase would dramatically expand the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) advanced research program.
To meet his goal of 80% clean energy by 2035, Obama urged an inclusive approach. “Some folks want wind and solar. Others want nuclear, clean coal, and natural gas. To meet this goal, we will need them all,” he said. To attain this vision, the President’s proposed budget will focus on “high-value” research into clean energy deployment, and will more than double spending on energy efficiency. It will also ask for an 85% increase in renewable energy investment.
Obama said such expenditures will include support to help make solar energy development more cost competitive; an increase in funding for “hot rocks” geothermal renewable energy development; and more emphasis on industrial efficiency to keep U.S. manufacturing competitive. He also wants a new energy efficiency initiative to catalyze private-sector investment and to upgrade commercial buildings. (U.S. Department of Energy)
Bingaman to Push Clean