Obama White House Bodes Well For Renewable Energy and Clean Tech

Nov 05, 2008
Author: SCP Editor

November 5, 2008 – It should be self-evident that an Obama White House bodes well for renewable energy and clean technology. His energy plan is far more aggressive in terms of its commitment to reducing our dependency on oil and coal, and increasing production and consumption of renewable, cleaner sources of energy and we think that this should buoy alternative energy stocks by mitigating perceived risk about legislative support and creating more visibility for growth over the next decade. Here are several components of Obama’s energy platform that are focused on renewables and clean tech:

·         Investing $150 billion over 10 years in plug-in hybrid cars to get 1 million of them on the road by 2015;

·         A federal Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). Legislation that ensures 10% of our electricity comes from renewable sources by 2012 and 25% by 2025;

·         Implementing an economy-wide cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse emissions 80% by 2050;

·         Providing American’s with an emergency energy rebate of $500 per individual and $1,000 per couple;

·         A “Green Vet” initiative to provide job training and green collar jobs to vets;

·         Increasing fuel economy standards 4% per year;

·         A $7,000 tax credit for the purchase of advanced technology vehicles as well as conversion tax credits;

·         $4 billion in retooling tax credits to get the U.S. auto manufacturing industry on track to build fuel-efficient cars;

·         Mandate for all new vehicles to be flex-fuel vehicles;

·         Require at least 60 billion gallons of advanced biofuels by 2030;

·         Establish a National Low Carbon Fuel Standard;

·         Setting energy efficiency goals to reduce electricity demand 15% from DOE’s projected levels by 2020;

·         Setting national building efficiency goals, improving new building efficiency by 50% and existing building efficiency by 25% over the next 10 years;

·         Overhauling federal efficiency standards;

·         Reducing federal energy consumption; and

·         Investing in the smart grid.

The Bush administration paid lip-service to renewable energy, while it poured most of its resources into oil, coal and nuclear. McCain’s administration would have made only slightly more of a commitment. After all, it ended up its campaign on Tuesday in coal country telling us all that Obama didn’t get it.

Well, we think we do get it. The rest of the world gets it, and that is why even countries like China, as well as regions in the Middle East, are getting far more ambitious than the U.S. in their commitments to alternative, cleaner burning fuel technologies. Obama’s energy plan, if executed, will get this country back out in front, where it should be in leading the world’s energy and climate related policies.

When Congress passed the renewable tax extension, Navigant Consulting provided a report to show that it would result in more than $230 billion investment into solar alone in the next eight years. Imagine what a federal renewable portfolio standard will do.

There are concerns about whether the Obama White House will have the resources to enact his energy policy. To be sure, it won’t happen overnight, and that much is articulated in the plan itself. There are near-term, and mid-to-long terms planks in the platform. And the economic realities on the ground will certainly have an influence on timing and depth to which various policies can be enacted.

On the other hand, investing in clean tech infrastructure projects and in renewable energy industries will be critical to getting the economy back on track, and in creating jobs, which is the cornerstone of our economy. We have seen several studies from non-partisan economic firms which have recommended that if the government does choose to create a multi-hundred billion stimulus package, it will be much better spent by investing in projects and industry to get the wheels of commerce greased again, as opposed to straight checks to individuals. We agree, and think that this can be the initial groundwork laid for Obama’s energy plan.


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