For President Obama, clean energy isn’t merely a buzz-word or pipe dream. It’s a central part of his strategy to help our country recover from the Great Recession and remodel our economy as an energy and technology powerhouse.
Through the Recovery Act alone, the President has spearheaded the single greatest clean-energy investment in American history. The administration has helped redefine the types of jobs and industries that drive economic growth – and rebuild our country stronger and more technologically advanced than ever before.
Take, for example, tax credits and loan guarantees issued by the Obama administration through the Recovery Act. These incentives have enabled firms to develop and hire workers, and refocus their business model to be more competitive in the global economy.
A company that once manufactured transmissions for commercial trucks now leads the country in hybrid technology. A former steel industrial plant now designs, manufactures, and installs wind turbines. Once an industrial wasteland, the Brooklyn Navy Yard has transformed into a haven for businesses that design and manufacture wind-solar street lamps.
The scope of progress is also reflected by creative and non-obvious approaches to efficiency. For some, this means not only a shift in economic priorities, but a cultural shift that embraces these changes.
Even residential homes are reaping the benefits of these changes. Through Recovery Act investments, more than 350,000 homes have been weatherized to help lower-income Americans reduce their energy bills, an initiative that also saves money and creates jobs. On the commercial side, the administration’s Better Buildings Initiative will make office buildings 20 percent more energy efficient by 2021.
Additionally, President Obama has helped transform the efficiency and cost savings in American transportation. The administration established new fuel-economy standards, raising the average fuel economy to 35.5 miles per gallon for vehicles made between 2012 and 2016, and saving roughly $3,000 for the average consumer and 1.8 billion barrels of oil.
The U.S. is currently on the path to double the clean energy generated between 2008 and 2012 levels. And the President has set a nation-wide goal for the U.S. to generate 80 percent of our electricity from clean energy sources by 2035 – this includes renewable sources, nuclear power, efficient natural gas, and coal with carbon capture and sequestration.
President Obama’s clean-energy strategy connects businesses, resources, and knowledge with a 21st century vision for America’s promise. It’s a plan that not only confronts the effects of climate change but also contributes to the long-term health and vitality of our country.
After years of inaction, President Obama’s efforts are unprecedented.
While there is still more that can be done by Congress and the administration, America has become an active participant in the fight to become more sustainable and energy efficient.