Details of President Obama and Vice President Biden’s ‘New Energy for America’ plan were released last week, another clear indication that the newly elected administration views energy policy as a means of quickly and decisively addressing issues as diverse as recession, employment, energy and national security, climate change and environmental degradation.
Looking to enact both short and longer term remedies centered on spurring development and use of renewable energy and enhancing energy conservation and efficiency, the plan’s aims include:
- investing $150 billion over the next 10 years to stimulate private clean energy investments that could create as many as 5 million new jobs;
- saving more oil than we import from the Middle East and Venezuela in a decade;
- putting 1 million plug-in electric hybrid vehicles on the road by 2015, along with efforts assuring that they are manufactured in the US;
- ensuring that 10% of power comes from renewable sources by 2012, and 25% by 2025;
- and implementing a national cap and trade system with a target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2020.
Getting Right Down To It
Taking office in the early stages of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression and what’s likely to be a prolonged recession, Pres. Obama and his administration are under intense pressure to do as much as they can as quickly as they can to alleviate the worst, immediate ills facing the nation. Quick, short-term fixes aren’t going to address fundamental problems that have been brewing under the surface for the past decade and more, however.
Looking to create jobs – which would provide both short, if not immediate, as well as longer term relief to American families, the Obama-Biden plan aims to stimulate development and use of renewable energy resources, setting a target of generating 10% of electricity from renewable sources by 2012 and 25% by 2025.
Recognizing that the greatest, as well as quickest, cheapest and easiest gains are to be had through energy conservation and increasing energy efficiency, they would also launch an initiative to “weatherize” 1 million homes a year.
Intending to redress the lack of responsible financial markets regulation and oversight, the Obama-Biden plan would also crack down on excessive speculation in the energy markets. The plan also calls for swapping oil out of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in order to reduce gasoline prices at the pump should another sustained jump in prices occur.
The plan also aims to enhance our national, as well as energy, security. It calls for eliminating oil imports from the Middle East and Venezuela by increasing fuel economy standards.
Added to this Obama and Biden would like to put 1 million plug-in hybrid cars on the road by 2015. They also want to enact a new $7,000 tax credit for purchases of advanced vehicles, and establish a new Low Carbon Fuel Standard.
Coming from a big coal state, and perhaps looking to assure passage in Congress, the plan doesn’t rule out ongoing exploration, development and use of conventional fossil fuel resources, though with caveats. The plan includes development and deployment of clean coal technology, for instance, as well as prioritizing construction of the Alaska Natural Gas Pipeline.
Obama and Biden’s idea is to do this more responsibly, however. They would adopt a “use it or lose it” approach to existing oil and gas leases, and promote the responsible production of domestic oil and natural gas.
Finally, looking to get back in sync with international efforts to combat climate change and assume a leadership role in such efforts, the plan also calls for launching a national cap-and-trade greenhouse gas emissions program with a target of reducing GHG emissions 80% by 2050.
Check it out for yourself here.