Obama Details Plans for Energy & Economy
In a detailed policy speech today in Wisconsin, Obama spoke about where he intends to take the economy as President of the US. Full details are available via PDF file here. Energy was included in the speech. Let's see where Obama's head is at on the issue we care most about ...
Invest In a Clean Energy Economy and Create American Jobs: Barack Obama will invest $150 billion over 10 years to advance the next generation of biofuels and fuel infrastructure, accelerate the commercialization of plug-in hybrids, promote development of commercial scale renewable energy, invest in low emissions coal plants, and begin transition to a new digital electricity grid. A principal focus of this fund will be devoted to ensuring that technologies that are developed in the U.S. are rapidly commercialized in the U.S. and deployed around the globe.
My comments: $150 billion over 10 years really isn't enough, given the near term challenges that are looming. Love the idea to support plug-in hybrids .... this is definitely where I see personal transportation heading. It doesn't make sense to burn oil to power cars. It makes a lot more sense to electrify the cars & use solar or wind to generate the electricity. That being said, Obama is right on the money in saying we need commercial scale renewable energy. Don't love the "low emissions" part of the coal bit, but practically speaking, zero-emissions coal plants are probably a figment of the imagination.
All in all, this is on the right track. I think we could use even more money devoted to RE ... but much better than the current thinking.
Create New Job Training Programs for Clean Technologies: The Obama plan will increase funding for federal workforce training programs and direct these programs to incorporate green technologies training, such as advanced manufacturing and weatherization training, into their efforts to help Americans find and retain stable, high-paying jobs. Obama will also create an energy-focused youth jobs program to invest in disconnected and disadvantaged youth. This program will provide youth participants with energy efficiency and environmental service opportunities to improve the energy efficiency of homes and buildings in their communities, while also providing them with practical skills and experience in important career fields of expected high-growth employment. Participants will not only be able to use their training to find new jobs, but also build skills that will help them move up the career ladder over time.
My comments: Weatherization training? WTF? I had to Google it. This entire jobs-related piece of the platform exposes Obama'a roots in community organizing in Chicago. Sounds like he wants to use the "green revolution" to solve rampant unemployment & overall decay in urban areas. At the same time, any training focused on energy conservation has to be considered a huge positive. Americans really need to get smarter about saving this precious thing we call energy.
New Jobs Through a New National Infrastructure Investment: Barack Obama believes that it is critically important for the United States to rebuild its national transportation infrastructure - its highways, bridges, roads, ports, air, and train systems - to strengthen user safety, bolster our long-term competitiveness and ensure our economy continues to grow. Investing in national infrastructure is especially important in our efforts to bolster our homeland security to meet international terrorism and natural disaster threats. Additionally, a robust federal infrastructure investment program today will help strengthen the U.S. economy and provide at least one million more U.S. jobs at a time when the housing and construction industries are slowing. Barack Obama will address the infrastructure challenge by creating a National Infrastructure Reinvestment Bank to expand and enhance, not supplant, existing federal transportation investments. This independent entity will be directed to invest in our nation's most challenging transportation infrastructure needs. The Bank will receive an infusion of federal money, $60 billion over 10 years, to provide financing to transportation infrastructure projects across the nation. These projects will create up to two million new direct and indirect jobs per year and stimulate approximately $35 billion per year in new economic activity.
My comments: I wonder what Obama's take on peak oil is. Does he realize that there might not be enough fuel to use the infrastructure that he wants to fix/maintain? I really wish there was more focus on the resurrection of our rail system. This is very status quo ... which is a bummer.