Obama, who has championed renewable energy, has been under increasing pressure by the solar industry and environmental activists to lead by example by installing solar at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, something White House officials said has been under consideration since he first took office.
Obama responds that solar is just one piece of his "all-of-the-above" strategy, and declared he will not back down from pouring in more taxpayer money since the payoffs from new technologies do not always come right away.
"Sometimes, you need a jumpstart to make it happen," Obama said. "That's been true of every innovation that we've ever had. And we know that some discoveries won't pan out. There's the VCR and the Beta and the -- all that stuff."
Speaking in Boulder City, Nevada, Obama said the United States needs an “all of the above” energy strategy that includes renewables and increased domestic oil and gas production. Without naming names, he slammed “some politicians” who would cut off government funds for solar energy. “This is an industry on the rise,” Obama said in a speech at the Copper Mountain Solar 1 facility in Boulder City. A field of solar panels glinted in the sun behind Obama as he spoke.
Now, you’d think given this extraordinary site, given the fact that this is creating jobs, generating power, helping to keep our environment clean, making us more competitive globally, you’d think that everybody would be supportive of solar power. That’s what you’d think. And yet, if some politicians had their way, there won’t be any more public investment in solar energy. There won’t be as many new jobs and new businesses.
"At a moment when homegrown energy - renewable energy - is creating new jobs in states like Colorado and Iowa, my opponent wants to end tax credits for wind energy producers," Obama told a crowd of some 3,500 people at the Colorado State Fairgrounds in Pueblo. The industry supports 5,000 jobs across Colorado, and 37,000 jobs would be at risk nationwide without the credits, he said. "It's time to stop spending billions in taxpayer subsidies on an oil industry that is already making a lot of profit," Obama said. "Let's keep investing in new energy sources that have never been more promising." The White House has made helping the renewable energy sector a centerpiece of Obama's first term in office, but the effort has created some problems for the Democratic president.
In this weekend’s YouTube address, President Obama announced the funding of two solar energy companies by the Department of Energy, with nearly $2 billion.
Today, as part of President Obama's Executive Order calling on Federal agencies to lead by example in Energy, Environment, and Economic Performance, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced that they will install solar photovoltaic (PV) systems by summer 2012 at five VA medical centers in Oklahoma City; Temple, Texas; Amarillo, Texas; Loma Linda, Calif. and West Los Angeles.
When President Obama came into office in January 2009, there were no solar projects permitted on our public lands -- despite the availability of world class solar resources in the tens of millions of acres of public lands in the sunny desert southwest. What a difference three years can make. As of July 2012, our Department has permitted 31 major renewable energy projects with the capacity to generate nearly 7,000 megawatts and meet the power needs of about two million homes. A majority of that new renewable energy involves utility-scale solar projects. Indeed, workers are constructing – right now -- some of the world’s largest solar facilities in the deserts of California and Nevada.
We’re also enforcing our trade laws to make sure countries like China aren’t giving their solar companies an unfair advantage over ours. And that’s important because countries all around the world—China, Germany, you name it—they understand the potential. They understand the fact that as countries all around the world become more interested in power generation—their population is expanding, their income level is going up, they use more electricity—and we’re going to have to make sure that we’re the guys who are selling them the technology and the know-how to make sure that they’re getting the power that they need.