In Obama’s second and final inaugural address (unless something crazy happens) he renewed the call for strengthening the clean energy economy. It’s a call that he acted on during his first four years and despite some company failures and a tough market, he has continue to support more than any previous president. His calls for more clean energy and the acknowledgement that it will be a difficult road was met with approval from the clean energy industry.
During the inaugural speech, Obama tied clean energy use to curbing climate change, saying, “We, the people, still believe that our obligations as Americans are not just to ourselves, but to all posterity. We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.” He also dismissed the naysayers who have denied climate change. “Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms.”
Obama tied economic security and the security of out natural resources to more use of clean energy. “The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But America cannot resist this transition, we must lead it,” he said. “We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries, we must claim its promise. That's how we will maintain our economic vitality and our national treasure—our forests and waterways, our crop lands and snow-capped peaks. That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God. That's what will lend meaning to the creed our fathers once declared.”
The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) was pleased with the President’s comments. "We praise the President for emphasizing that a transition to sustainable energy sources is vital—and that the U.S. must lead it,” said SIEA President Rhone Resch. “Solar is the fastest-growing and most affordable, accessible and reliable clean energy technology available today. It's not only powering our nation, it's an engine of economic growth. The number of U.S. solar jobs has jumped 13.2 percent in the last year alone, and doubled over the last three years,” he said.
Resch also pointed out the rapid growth solar has experienced recently. “In the last four years, the amount of solar powering U.S. homes, businesses and military bases has grown by more than 500 percent—from 1,100 megawatts to more than 6,400 megawatts today. Over the next four years, solar will grow to be the largest new source or energy, and employ more than a quarter million Americans.”
Following the address, SEIA called on the President to work with the 113th Congress must also work to make the goals a reality. It called for Congress to maintain the Investment Tax Credit that has helped the U.S. access solar at a much lower cost, so that solar can compete on a level playing field with other energy sources. After all, the U.S. still subsidizes coal, oil, and natural gas energy as well. It also called for the government to streamline the solar permitting processes and support net metering policies across the U.S.
To help support the transition to more clean energy, SEIA is calling on people to join its Solar Power Action Network. “We need the President's leadership to make that happen. We need Congress to work together to pass sensible policy. Most of all, we need your help us take a stand,” the organization said.