A compromise on natural gas-powered trucks?
Obama hoed a familiar row on clean energy, a topic he has spoken about since his first State of the Union address, when he called for doubling the generation of electricity derived from wind and solar. He has reached that goal.
"Last year, wind energy added nearly half of all new power capacity in America," Obama said. "So let's generate even more. Solar energy gets cheaper by the year -- so let's drive costs down even further. As long as countries like China keep going all-in on clean energy, so must we."
Republican lawmakers, however, expressed concern that the president's push for renewable energy could come at the expense of domestic fossil fuel industries. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said he hoped the president would continue to support the expansion of domestic natural gas production.
"Natural gas is creating a jobs boom across our country, and we want to make sure that we continue that," he said before the speech. "I would hope the president will call on natural gas producers and other industries to find new ways to put natural gas to work" -- for example, in the nation's fleets of trucks, he said.
While some Republicans have expressed cautious support for the president's "all of the above" approach to energy, many still resist the expansion of grants or tax credits that stand to make wind and solar power more competitive with fossil fuels. Yesterday before the speech, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, said that he would oppose federal measures to bring renewables closer to grid parity.
"I've supported alternative fuels in the past, but we simply can't mandate the utilization of energy sources that are not competitive financially," he said.
Click here for the plan Obama outlined in last night's State of the Union address.
Reprinted from Climatewire with permission from Environment & Energy Publishing, LLC. www.eenews.net, 202-628-6500