Obama sparks ‘American energy revolution’ with $1bn green investment

President Obama unveiled on Monday a package of programmes to help America switch to cleaner energy, including $1bn in loan guarantees to boost 'innovative' technologies, like smart grids and solar rooftops.

The funding will also go towards installing solar panels on military housing and helping low-income families become more energy-efficient

The initiatives aim to boost innovation, ensure grid reliability and ‘help the country towards a low carbon future’.

Obama was speaking at the National Clean Energy Summit in Las Vegas, where he told the audience that the White House can impede climate change through clean energy.

“We are here today because we believe that no challenge poses a greater threat to our future” the President announced as he ran through America’s recent  renewable energy accomplishments.

President Obama stated: “America is making incredible progress on this issue [renewables] and that is one of the reasons why I recently committed this country to getting 20% of our energy for renewables beyond hydro electrical power by 2030.”

Obama also announced new commitments to put solar installations in more than 40 US military bases. Earlier this week, the US navy signed a deal to buy energy form a 660,000-solar panel project in Arizona.

Obama stated that America generates 20 times more solar power than it did in 2008. “Americans are going solar and becoming more energy-efficient, not because they’re tree-huggers, but because they’re cost-cutters.”

“We are taking more steps that allow more Americans to join us in this revolution. Solar isn’t just for the green crowd anymore it’s for the green eyeshade crowd too.”

Snowballs in February

Despite major backing from American firms, Obama’s climate change drive hasn’t been without resistance.

Charles and David Koch, the business siblings who control a multinational conglomerate with vast holdings in oil and petrochemicals, have supported groups fighting clean energy mandates in several states, comparing the policies to Obamacare.

Obama hit back by saying: “Now, it’s one thing if you’re consistent in being free market. It’s another thing when you’re free market until it’s solar that’s working and people want to buy and suddenly you’re not for it anymore.

“When you start seeing massive lobbying efforts backed by fossil fuel interests, or conservative think tanks, or the Koch brothers pushing for new laws to roll back renewable energy standards, or to prevent new clean energy businesses from succeeding, that’s s problem.”

Green American dream

Obama highlighted that there are now more than 500 wind manufacturers across 43 states supplying the wind industry, an industry that supports more than 50,000 jobs and supplies enough energy to power 10 million homes.

He also noted that the world’s largest solar installation came online last year with nine million solar panels generating enough electricity to power 100,000 homes with clean renewable energy.

The newly-announced climate change policies are part of Obama’s Clean Power Plan which aims to cut carbon emissions by 32% by 2030.

Matt Mace

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie