Democratic Party presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama has called for a greater role for the federal government in the wind energy business. He believes with the proper amount of help, the industry could produce half of the nation’s energy needs.
The senator made the remarks during his first campaign stop in the state that is becoming a leader in wind energy production in this interview with the Argus (South Dakota) Leader:
Q: Does the federal government have a role in promoting wind power, and if so, what is that role?
A: Absolutely. The main thing we need to do short-term is pass the tax incentives that will expire in December. If we don’t get those tax incentives, those federal tax breaks in place, then you’re going to see a whole lot of wind power generation and industry moving to Europe. It’s already starting to happen. That’s one of the reasons I supported the energy bill that was passed a year ago. Not because I was thrilled with some of the provisions. In fact, I tried to get some stripped out – like tax breaks for oil companies. But because it represented a huge expansion and investment in wind energy. I want to put $150 billion over the course of 10 years in research around wind, solar, biodiesel, advanced technology for more fuel- efficient cars. And we can pay for it by charging polluters who are helping to contribute greenhouse gases. That, I think, is not only good for the environment, not only good for our national security because over time we’ll reduce our consumption of foreign oil.
Obama goes on to say that if the federal tax incentives for wind energy aren’t renewed, this country will lose out to European interests.