The State of the Union (SOTU) address is obviously a pretty big deal. Tina wrote up a great piece for CleanTechnica on this year’s speech, but other cleantech and environmental thought leaders also made some noteworthy comments this week that I wanted to share with all of you.
Before the 7 I’m reposting below, I’ll just note that Jeremy Bloom has a few interesting posts up on sister site Red, Green, and Blue that are worth checking out:
- State of the Union – Why the hell are we still talking about this? (This post is from before the SOTU, but it also has some very critical points in it that are relevant now and probably for the next 2–4 years.)
- State of the Green Union 2013 – It’s climate change, stupid! (Note that this is a 5-pager — you have to click through via the almost unnoticeable links on the bottom of each page.)
- SOTU 2013 reactions: The good, the bad and the ugly (Again, a multi-pager — don’t miss the links on the bottom.)
And here are 7 official statements from some top cleantech and environmental organizations, associations, and companies:
1. Statement by Maggie Fox, CEO of The Climate Reality Project:
“[This week], the President once again stood up for reality. The President made it clear that we can and must take immediate action to stop the climate crisis. We stand with the President in our shared commitment to speak truth to the American people about the climate crisis and take immediate steps toward solutions.
“We are already paying the costs of carbon pollution. Climate change has increased our risk of severe storms, crippling droughts, and heat waves – extreme weather that threatens human lives and livelihoods and is costing us tens billions of dollars in damages today. The time has come for a historic shift to a clean energy, carbon-free future. We look forward to working with the President to help make that change happen.”
2. Statement by Lisa Jacobson, Council President of the Business Council for Sustainable Energy:
“Clean energy businesses commend the President for reaffirming his commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to address the damaging and costly impacts of climate change. We agree that the most effective approach is for Congress to pursue a bipartisan, market-based solution to climate change. However, if that is not possible in the short-term, clean energy industries will work with the Administration to ensure that commercially-available clean energy technologies are fully utilized to reduce emissions and improve the resiliency of our buildings and infrastructure.
“Recent trends show that U.S. carbon emission reduction goals are not only achievable, but it can be done in an way that is affordable and does not harm economic growth.
“The Council also commends the President for his commitment to cut energy waste in half in the next 20 years and his pledge to support states that take steps to increase energy productivity for households, businesses and the building sector.”
3. Statement by Graham Richard, CEO of Advanced Energy Economy:
“With technology and innovation giving us more choices in energy than ever before, this is a critical time for America to seize the opportunity of advanced energy for cost savings, energy security, and economic competitiveness.”
“I applaud President Obama for recognizing the opportunity in reducing energy waste and making all of our energy sources more secure, clean, and affordable. I look forward to working with Congress and the Administration to making the most of it.”
4. Statement by Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association:
“In tonight’s State of the Union Address, President Obama laid out a vision for the American energy economy that is in line with what SEIA is working to achieve – a robust clean energy industry that powers our homes and businesses while growing our economy and protecting our environment. Energy is a primary input to our nation’s economic system, so it’s appropriate that President Obama is placing emphasis on developing our nation’s robust clean energy resources to help rebuild the nation’s economy.
“We are especially encouraged by the president’s commitment to securing America’s place as a leader in clean energy innovation throughout the world. President Obama understands that the stakes are high and we must not fall behind other nations as the world shifts to emissions-free clean energy technologies like solar.
“We thank President Obama for his leadership and look forward to continuing to work with Congress and the White House to make solar an increasingly-important component of the nation’s energy portfolio.”
5. Statement by Rob Gramlich, Interim CEO of the American Wind Energy Association:
“Wind power became the number one source of new U.S. electric generating capacity in 2012. [This week], President Obama called on Congress to strengthen the stewardship we all share for our environment, and put more Americans to work in clean energy jobs and manufacturing.
“President Obama sets a goal tonight ‘to once again double generation from wind, solar, and geothermal sources by 2020.’ The President has called on Congress to make the renewable energy Production Tax Credit permanent and refundable, as part of comprehensive corporate tax reform, providing incentives and certainty for investments in new clean energy.
“We are proud to be recognized for producing nearly half of the nation’s new electric capacity last year, creating tens of thousands of jobs, and as a central climate solution.
“Wind power is one of the most beneficial and cost-effective greenhouse gas mitigation technologies available to our nation. With over 60 gigawatts of wind power generating capacity now installed in America, wind energy will avoid nearly 100 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions this year, equal to 1.8% of the entire country’s total carbon emissions.
“We’re inspired too, by stories like that of Lee Maxwell, a commissioning technician at Acciona Energy, who was invited to the Capitol to watch the State of the Union address from the First Lady’s box. He’s a 2012 graduate of the wind turbine technician program at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where he earned 26 separate certifications in everything from reading blueprints to driving forklifts. Iowa gets 20 percent of its electricity from wind energy thanks to dedicated workers like Lee, who now travels the country turning on new wind turbines.
“Utility-scale wind power was invented here, and increasingly the parts are made-in-the-U.S.A. Domestic content in the U.S. industry is up to nearly 70 percent, from 25 percent just a few years ago. That has created 30,000 American jobs in wind manufacturing, and further brought down the cost of wind energy now that we’re making most of the parts right here in the U.S.A.
“Policymakers all over should be recognizing the opportunity and supporting the growth of clean energy in their own states, such as through robust state Renewable Portfolio Standards.
“Because the Administration and Congress wisely extended the federal Production Tax Credit (PTC) and Investment Tax Credit (ITC) at the start of the year, tens of thousands of workers in U.S. wind manufacturing facilities can get back to building wind projects and wind turbines. Private investors put $25 billion into the U.S. economy in 2012 and got the signal from the PTC/ITC extensions that the U.S. is still open for clean energy business. This is what successful policy looks like.
“America’s homegrown wind energy industry is ready to work with President Obama and the U.S. Congress to advance the goals of energy independence and clean, renewable power that is available and affordable for all Americans.”
6. Statement by David Foster, Executive Director of the BlueGreen Alliance:
“[This week], President Obama asked Americans to join him to respond to climate change, to rebuild our nation’s infrastructure, and to invest in the promise of clean energy manufacturing to create good jobs for the American people.
“Climate change is having a profound impact on our communities and our economy, and we can no longer wait for action. But this challenge also presents an economic opportunity for our country. Tonight President Obama put forward priorities that will allow us to meet the vital challenges we face today and create quality jobs. Investing in our nation’s infrastructure, strengthening the manufacturing sector and finding more ways to deploy clean energy across the country are the pathway to a better, stronger economy.
“The President’s commitment to making America a magnet for jobs and manufacturing and investing in the skills that will help workers perform those jobs will create jobs and strengthen our economy. Expanding investments in clean energy and curbing greenhouse emissions from existing power plants is key to responding to climate change. Investing in our infrastructure will prepare us for the new reality of climate change, help move people and goods more efficiently, and stimulate American manufacturing.
“Congress should heed the president’s call for action on climate change. In a few weeks, our nation will once again face the choice of whether to invest in the priorities that will put people back to work and prepare our nation for the future. We cannot afford to miss this opportunity to build a cleaner, stronger, and fairer America for the next generation.”
7. Statement by Paul Gaynor, CEO of First Wind:
“Although the recent extension of the tax credits was key for the industry, we must now look toward more stable policy for wind energy to avoid the artificial boom and bust cycle for wind project development and construction that occurs as the tax credits expire.
“To realize the clean energy vision outlined in the State of the Union, we need to put in place a predictable policy that allows access to capital for renewable energy in the same manner oil, gas, and coal have operated for decades.
“Looking toward 2013 and beyond, the extension of the wind energy tax credits will allow for the continued growth of cost-competitive wind energy in the United States. However, additional certainty around federal policy will set the stage for long-term growth, especially because stable, predictable policy creates increased efficiencies within the industry.
“Clean energy and economic opportunity are not partisan issues. Bi-partisan efforts to create a more predictable federal policy will enable First Wind and other renewable energy companies around the country to invest millions of dollars of investment in local communities over the next few years. As the President said [this week], his primary goal is to put in place policies that will create jobs and invest in our nation. A predictable federal policy will translate into jobs, new sources of revenue for towns and communities, and new sources of clean energy at a competitive price for consumers.”
If you’d like to watch the SOTU again, you can do so right here:
I'm the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular clean energy website in the world, and Planetsave, a leading green and science news site. I've been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and I've been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, bicycling, and wind energy for the past few years. You can also find my work on Scientific American, Reuters, Think Progress, GE's ecomagination site, several sites in the Important Media network, & many other places. To connect on your favorite social network, go to: zacharyshahan.com