White House Correspondent Paul Brandus at SolarTown

Reporting from the White House on Green Issues

Paul Brandus, a White House correspondent, came to SolarTown today to talk about reporting on green issues from the White House. Mr. Brandus covers all issues at the White House, but takes a particular interest in green issues, as Brandus is also the editor in chief of the Green Energy Brief and hosts a syndicated radio show on green issues.

Paul Brandus at SolarTown

Paul Brandus at SolarTown

Brandus related that President Obama has identified three priorities for his administration: health care, education and energy. Obama has vowed to double renewable energy by 2012, a relatively modest goal, since the baseline in the United States is very low, according to Brandus.

The White House is following with keen interest the progress of the Waxman-Markey comprehensive energy bill, which passed the House and is now making its way through the Senate. The original draft bill proposed a goal of 20/20—20% renewable energy by the year 2020–although this 20% goal has been watered down in later drafts. Brandus likened this goal to a “stretch goal” used in business by Jack Welch—a goal that may be unattainable but if the country can even come close to this goal, it will be a remarkable achievement. The White House seems intent to try to get this bill on the President’s desk before Obama goes to Copenhagen for the United Nations Climate Change Conference in December.

Incorporating solar into the American fabric still will be a major challenge. A major challenge, as is painfully well- known, is how to move the energy from where it is generated to where it is used.  One major source of renewable energy is the plethora of wind power—which in the US is centered in the Midwest, far away from the population centers on the coasts. But Brandus reported that this is a President who understands the dangers of “complacency.”  When Obama speaks at the White House, he appears to be saying that we as Americans are still capable “of doing the big things.”

Listening to lunch speaker Paul Brandus

Listening to lunch speaker Paul Brandus

Brandus related a story on how keenly interested Obama is in solar energy and other renewables. Last month, Brandus asked the president about when the solar panels will again grace the roof of the White House. Although the briefing had already ended, the President “spun around” and told Brandus, “Great question!” Obama said that no date had been set, but “we are working on it.” Brandus said that restoring the solar panels and installing a small wind turbine, would have tremendous symbolic value to the country. Every time that the President talks about renewable energy, it gives a “real boost” to those who are trying to do more to reduce their carbon footprint.

Tags: , , , , ,

Comments are closed.