If renewable energy advocates had hoped for a big mention during Pres. Barack Obama’s first State of the Union address, they probably are walking away from tonight’s speech feeling a bit left out.
While the president did make quick mentions of solar, biofuels and clean energy, Obama did not unveil any grand plan to use renewable energy to help move the nation forward. The Washington Times reports that, unlike his predecessor, Pres. George W. Bush, who in 2006 talked about the need to stop the nation’s “addiction” to foreign oil and to embrace ethanol and other renewable fuel sources, Obama seemed to leave most talk about renewable energy, especially biodiesel and ethanol, by the wayside. And while it might seem trivial, a mention in the State of the Union can make a big difference:
“It can have a very significant impact,” said Bob Dinneen, chief executive officer of the Renewable Fuels Association.
“It really teed up a discussion about energy policy and led to the passage of the energy bill in 2007 that resulted in the renewable-fuel standard in this country,” Mr. Dinneen said. “So it was an important catalyst.”
But of course, one speech is not the end-all and be-all for any program, and we’ll really need to see how Obama does make clean energy a priority … and the role renewables will play.