Integrator Eshone Energy asks: Do we have a sunny forecast indicating that President
Barack Obama will boost the Renewable Energies
market, including Solar Power?
After President-elect Barack Obama is sworn in on January 20th, there’s no doubt people will queue up, all clamoring for his immediate attention. Indeed, with such pressing issues as pulling our troops out of Iraq, disbursing the remaining $350 billion in bailout money, closing Guantanamo Bay, keeping people in their homes and on the job, how much attention can we expect Obama to give to Renewable Energies, specifically Solar Energy?
Is he in agreement with California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger who feels that the Solar Energy Market is booming and that it can only help our struggling economy? Indicators point in that direction.
One of the key statements President-elect Barack Obama and Vice Present-elect Joe Biden put forth in their New Energy for America plan notes that, “Our nation is confronted by two major energy challenges - our dependence on foreign oil and global climate change – both of which stem from our current dependence on fossil fuels for energy.”
What’s in their “Comprehensive Energy Plan” basket? Highlights include:
- 5 Million Green Collar Jobs – Invest $150 billion in the next 10 years to build clean energy.
- A Bold New National Goal on Energy Efficiency
- American Energy (using American energy instead of dependence on Foreign Oil).
An interesting project is their Green Vet Initiative. More than 837,000 troops who’ve served in Iraq or Afghanistan are now veterans. This initiative helps place those veterans in the Green; first by offering counseling and job placement to help them gain the skills to enter this rapidly growing field and second; by working with industry partners to create career pathways and educational programs. This is just one indication of how massive this market is expected to become.
Speaking Specifically Solar (or where Solar is part of the Renewable Energies umbrella):
- Invest in a national smart grid that utilizes smart metering, distributed storage and other technologies to improve grid functionality and reliability.
- 10% of America's electricity to be derived from renewable sources by 2012 and 25% by 2025.
- Direct the Secretary of Energy to establish an investment-matching grant program and initiate strategies for managing peak-load demands.
- Establish a federal investment program to help longtime manufacturing centers modernize for operation in a burgeoning cleantech economy. Cleantech is specific to technology that improves overall performance yet reduces energy consumption, waste and pollution. The term entered our vocabulary with the increasing awareness of global warming and the impact that continued burning of fossil fuels had on the natural environment.
- Implement an economy-wide cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050.
Recently, after meeting with Congressional Democrats, President-elect Barack Obama doubled his proposed tax credit for renewable energy in his fiscal stimulus package to $20 billion.
At a recent speech he gave at George Mason University, President-elect Barack Obama noted that, as part of his economic stimulus plan, he plans to double production of solar energy and other forms of renewable power. “In the process, we will put Americans to work in new jobs that pay well and can't be outsourced,” he added, “jobs building solar panels and wind turbines, constructing fuel-efficient cars and buildings, and developing the new energy technologies that will lead to even more jobs, more savings and a cleaner, safer planet in the bargain.”
Indeed, the general public is feeling hopeful that Obama isn’t just giving renewable energy lip-service but will genuinely move to action. However, venture capitalist Maurice Gunderson, senior partner at CMEA Ventures of San Francisco, warns that, "The problem took 100 years to create. It's not going to be fixed in six months by anybody. I see this as a five or ten year fix." On the whole though, Gunderson, who’s been in the energy sector for 35 years, is optimistic that the Obama administration shows signs that they understand the problems and will act on them.
We’ve just skimmed the surface on Obama’s Solar Plans but there’s enough evidence for Eshone Energy to predict: Sunny Solar Days ahead. Stay tuned...