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Solar News

Obama's Energy Pop


Before he became president in July 2008, President Obama started his "energy pop" by seriously considering alternative energies. He summoned a meeting of industry leaders from oil companies, utility providers, a climate scientist, an economist, a California climate expert, and campaign staffers. Following the meeting Obama decided the climate and energy issues needed more pop.

Soon a picture of Obama's pop began to emerge. The green initiatives were tied to the economy, the one aspect unifying all Americans. The federal government would provide funding for large public projects while simultaneously providing tax credits for green improvements. Soon afterwards the pop Obama was looking for is beginning to save and create jobs for Americans.

Now that he is president, we are getting a better idea of how this vision translates into policy. On May 27, a short one hundred days since the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, President Obama stood before the United States largest solar array energy plant near Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada praising the recovery act's success at saving and creating 150,000 jobs nationwide. Nellis' 140-acre power plant was finished in late 2007 as a public-private partnership with a local utility.

Sixty billion of the $747 billion Congress approved is set aside, aimed at helping renewable energies find traction. Tax credits for consumers and funding for a smart grid and other renewable energy projects will undoubtedly aid President Obama in creating real progress for alternative energies.  

During his short speech, the President outlined two new provisions funding renewable energy. The first addition is directed towards creating more solar farms like the solar array at Nellis Air Force base in American cities across the country. The United States Air Force is the largest consumer of energy in the federal government. Estimates place the savings at nearly one million a year over the life of the array. However, estimates of the plant's cost approach $100 million leading to questions about the cost effectiveness of such plants.

" 'Right now, we are standing on the largest solar electric plant of its kind in the entire Western Hemisphere," Obama said during an event at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada. (This) base serves as a shining example of what's possible when we harness the power of clean, renewable energy to build a new, firmer foundation for economic growth.' "