Tuesday, January 25, 2011

SOTU and Energy Policy

President Barack Obama continued to deliver good news for folks who want to see changes in the nation's energy policies as he outlined continued support for nuclear power, electrical cars and other innovations and programs in the State of the Union address.

Full text of the address may be found here.

First of all, the president wants to eliminate taxpayer dollars going to the oil companies:
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. I don't know if you've noticed, but they're doing just fine on their own. So instead of subsidizing yesterday's energy, let's invest in tomorrow's.
To that, all I can say is hear, hear. This nation has no business offering these companies any subsidies or handing over this nation's resources cheaply, especially when these companies are enjoying record profits.
Of course, we'll be presented with the bugaboo of increased gasoline prices because surely the oil companies will pass on any increased costs that show up in the elimination of government subsidies to the consumer.
I'm not thrilled at the prospect, but if that means money being put into other areas of energy research and innovation, I'll put up with higher gasoline prices for that. Here's where the President would like to see that money go:
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% of America's electricity will come from clean energy sources. 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.
Add to this the goal of having 1 million electric cars on the streets by 2015, and I see good things coming.
Of course what's going to happen if this can come to pass – and that's a big if, because there are a lot of people who want the status quo – is that a lot of people are going to see their cheese moved, and not be happy about it. I guess what I'm saying is that it's time our cheese be moved. And some of that cheese is going to have to move in Congress, with politicians putting politics aside. So, in other words, I'm not really holding my breath.

The President talked about America facing another Sputnik moment. I believe we are facing that moment. I can hope that we can find the courage to pursue another grand project on the scale of Apollo or Manhattan. Money will be easier to find -- finding the courage to do what it takes to get the programs planned and implemented will be much harder to do.

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