Obama sets 80 percent by 2035 clean energy goal

By Rona Johnson | January 25, 2011

In his State of the Union address Jan. 25, President Obama challenged the nation to join him in setting a new goal that 80 percent of America’s electricity be produced from clean energy sources by 2035.

“Now, clean energy breakthroughs will only translate into clean energy jobs if businesses know there will be a market for what they're selling,” Obama said prior to announcing his energy goal. “Some folks want wind and solar. 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.”

Bob Cleaves, president of the Biomass Power Association, said the organization is eager to work with the president and Congress to achieve the “ambitious—yet attainable” renewable energy goal.

“Some estimates indicate that biomass power accounts for as much as 50 percent of the renewable energy generated across the country,” Cleaves said. “By our projections, biomass energy will continue to grow in the coming decades, particularly in densely forested regions like the Southeast. Biomass energy is increasingly receiving recognition for its ability to help America meet its renewable energy standards. Just this month, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson stated in a public letter, ‘ … biomass can be part of a national strategy to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, and efforts are underway to foster the expansion of renewable resources and promote biomass as ways of addressing climate change and enhancing forest management.’”

 Obama also asked Congress to eliminate the billions in taxpayer dollars that are currently going to oil companies and use that money to fund innovation in bioenergy development. 

“This is our generation's Sputnik moment,” the president said. “Two years ago, I said that we needed to reach a level of research and development we haven't seen since the height of the Space Race. In a few weeks, I will be sending a budget to Congress that helps us meet that goal. We'll invest in biomedical research, information technology, and especially clean energy technology—an investment that will strengthen our security, protect our planet, and create countless new jobs for our people.”

Although he didn't go into any details, it is clear that the president supports renewable energy and believes that it's a way to create jobs and bolster the U.S. economy.