In his State of the Union address last night, President Obama once again promoted his all-of-the-above energy plan, this time including a new proposal to fund energy and technology research along with other new energy goals.
Obama used a balanced approach when addressing the nation’s energy situation, claiming both a 15-year high for domestic oil production and strong wind energy growth. One of the President’s two mentions of China in the speech came here, stressing the need for America to keep up with China’s large investments into clean energy technology such as wind and solar.
Perhaps freed from the prospect of facing any more elections, Obama strongly endorsed the need to invest in energy research and to move away from an oil and gas based economy.
“Now is not the time to gut these job-creating investments in science and innovation. Now is the time to reach a level of research and development not seen since the height of the Space Race. And today, no area holds more promise than our investments in American energy,” the President said.
Later in the address, Obama proposed a new initiative called the Energy Security Trust, which would use a portion of oil and gas revenue to fund new research in energy and technology with the goal of making the country less reliant on oil . Additionally, the President issued a new long-term energy goal for the country with a program resembling that of the educational “Race to the Top” program from his first term.
“Let’s cut in half the energy wasted by our homes and businesses over the next twenty years. The states with the best ideas to create jobs and lower energy bills by constructing more efficient buildings will receive federal support to help make it happen.”
With issues like immigration and gun control receiving the largest share of attention at the start of President’s first term, it will be interesting to see if his energy plans for the country–in addition to his remarks on climate change–can also break into the national dialogue. The last time energy issues held a lion’s share of the national dialogue was the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Without a tragedy such as the oil spill to focus the public’s attention, it will be up to the President to push his energy agenda and make sure it does not get crowded out by other issues.