Apr 24
2014

Hail to the chief: "By 2035, 80% of America's electricity will come from clean energy sources."

Posted on in Energy News

The declaration came toward the beginning of President Obama's 2011 State of the Union address, which, in much more eloquent terms, called for America to get with it before we blow it like we did when the Soviets beat us to space with Sputnik. The theme of the 6,000-word speech he delivered last night, "Win the Future," placed particular emphasis on getting an edge in the global economy. China, he said, has the world's fastest computer and the largest private solar research facility. South Korean homes have greater Internet access. Countries in Europe and Russia invest more in their roads and railways. And so Obama presented the challenge to Americans with a number of surprisingly ambitious goals to raise the standard of education, spark innovation, and shove the country to the front door of the 21st century. Obama made clean energy a standout issue...

Following is the text from the speech that relates to clean energy:

     Two years ago, I said that we needed to reach a level of research and development we haven’t seen since the height of the Space Race.  And in a few weeks, I will be sending a budget to Congress that helps us meet that goal.  We’ll invest in biomedical research, information technology, and especially clean energy technology -– (applause) -- an investment that will strengthen our security, protect our planet, and create countless new jobs for our people.

     Already, we’re seeing the promise of renewable energy.  Robert and Gary Allen are brothers who run a small Michigan roofing company.  After September 11th, they volunteered their best roofers to help repair the Pentagon.  But half of their factory went unused, and the recession hit them hard.  Today, with the help of a government loan, that empty space is being used to manufacture solar shingles that are being sold all across the country.  In Robert’s words, “We reinvented ourselves.”

      That’s what Americans have done for over 200 years: reinvented ourselves.  And to spur on more success stories like the Allen Brothers, we’ve begun to reinvent our energy policy. We’re not just handing out money.  We’re issuing a challenge.  We’re telling America’s scientists and engineers that if they assemble teams of the best minds in their fields, and focus on the hardest problems in clean energy, we’ll fund the Apollo projects of our time.

      At the California Institute of Technology, they’re developing a way to turn sunlight and water into fuel for our cars.  At Oak Ridge National Laboratory, they’re using supercomputers to get a lot more power out of our nuclear facilities.  With more research and incentives, we can break our dependence on oil with biofuels, and become the first country to have a million electric vehicles on the road by 2015.  (Applause.)

      We need to get behind this innovation.  And to help pay for it, I’m asking Congress to eliminate the billions in taxpayer dollars we currently give to oil companies.  (Applause.)  I don’t know if -- I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but they’re doing just fine on their own.  (Laughter.)  So instead of subsidizing yesterday’s energy, let’s invest in tomorrow’s.

      Now, clean energy breakthroughs will only translate into clean energy jobs if businesses know there will be a market for what they’re selling.  So tonight, I challenge you to join me in setting a new goal:  By 2035, 80 percent of America’s electricity will come from clean energy sources.  (Applause.)

      Some folks want wind and solar.  Others want nuclear, clean coal and natural gas.  To meet this goal, we will need them all -- and I urge Democrats and Republicans to work together to make it happen.  (Applause.)

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Beyond the 80 percent by 2035 clean electricity goal, the President also proposed that 80 percent of Americans should have access to high-speed rail within 25 years; and 98 percent should have access to high-speed wireless within five years.