In President-Elect Barack Obama’s first weekly radio addresses of 2009 yesterday he called for the U.S. to double renewable energy production as part of a plan to add 3 million new jobs. In the address he also restated his earlier promise to add new jobs by making public buildings more energy efficient.
The goal of 3 million new jobs is quite a bit higher than his previous pledges in which he called for creating at least 2.5 million new jobs. And while Obama committed to supporting clean power in his campaign with $150 billion over 10 years, the commitment to double clean power as part of his initial recovery and reinvestment plan is a bold move. Especially when clean power generation tends to be less capital-efficient compared to energy efficiency programs.
However, as has been the trend so far, he didn’t specify many of the details in his clean power plan, or indicate what sectors he would focus on. The U.S. only got 7 percent of its power from renewable energy in 2007, according to the Energy Information Administration, which included hydroelectric power, but excluded nuclear power which made up another 8 percent of power as of 2007. Is the new plan to include hydro and nuclear in the renewable energy mix? Hydro being included is almost a certainty, while nuclear could be included if the fast breeder program is expanded. Whatever happens though this is certain to be a big boost to the renewable energy industry.