Obama Not Walking Away from Solar Energy
"Our experience with shale gas shows us that the payoffs on these public investments don't always come right away. Some technologies don't pan out; some companies fail. But I will not walk away from the promise of clean energy. I will not walk away from workers like Bryan. I will not cede the wind or solar or battery industry to China or Germany because we refuse to make the... same commitment here. We have subsidized oil companies for a century. That's long enough. It's time to end the taxpayer giveaways to an industry that's rarely been more profitable, and double-down on a clean energy industry that's never been more promising. Pass clean energy tax credits and create these jobs."
State of the Union Address, January 24, 2012
In what is likely to be a major campaign issue, solar energy occupied a critical part of the State of the Union Address. In a not too subtle reference to Solyndra and that "some companies fail," President Obama boldly defended his record and indicated that he was not going to "walk away" from solar energy. As pointed out by CNN, "For the third year in a row energy played a central role in President Obama's State of the Union address, with the president leaning hard this year on the twin themes of increased domestic oil and gas production and the need to invest more in renewable sources."
There may have been some disagreement whether Obama broke any new ground with his proposals in last night's speech. Juliet Eilperin blogging on the Washington Post, claimed that "many of his proposals amounted to a reprise of past administration pledges." Russell McLendon writing On the Mother Nature Network claimed that "The speech featured several other nods to energy issues, including a request for legislation to cut energy waste in U.S. factories and offer incentives for businesses that upgrade their buildings."
The importance of energy policy did not miss the attention of the Huffington Post, which wrote that Obama is walking a fine line between promoting renewable energy and developing oil and gas, "The comments came as part of a larger meditation on energy policy, in which the president pulled a leaf from the Republican playbook, pledging to expand drilling and increase other forms of domestic energy production as a way to create more American jobs."