Citing ‘our generation's Sputnik moment’ and the need to encourage American innovation, President Obama said during the annual State of the Union address that his budget would include investments in biomedical research, information technology and – especially – clean energy.
‘We're issuing a challenge,’ said Obama. ‘We're telling America's scientists and engineers that if they assemble teams of the best minds in their fields and focus on the hardest problems in clean energy, we'll fund the Apollo projects of our time.’
The president laid out a goal of obtaining 80% of U.S. electricity from clean energy sources by 2035.
‘Some folks want wind and solar,’ he said. ‘Others want nuclear, clean coal and natural gas. To meet this goal, we will need them all – and I urge Democrats and Republicans to work together to make it happen.’
Denise Bode, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), was in the House chamber for the speech.
‘We are pleased to see the possibility of the first predictable long-term federal policy toward renewable energy,’ she said in a statement released by AWEA. ‘But of course, we'll need to make sure the policy really deploys the renewable energy Americans want in the near term, as well as the long term. Wind energy can deliver right now on its promise to deliver new electricity to Americans more affordably than any other energy source, if we have a level playing field to compete with the permanent entitlements that fossil fuels have enjoyed for over 90 years.’
Obama also called to an end to taxpayer subsidies for oil companies.
‘I don't know if you've noticed, but they're doing just fine on their own,’ he said. ‘So instead of subsidizing yesterday's energy, let's invest in tomorrow's.’