Obama Calls for Doubling Renewable Energy Production for Green Jobs

In President-Elect Barack Obama’s weekly radio addresses today — the first of 2009 — he called for the U.S. to double renewable energy production as part of a plan to add 3 million new jobs. In the address Obama also restated his earlier promise to add new jobs by making public buildings more energy efficient.

Obama’s goal of 3 million new jobs is slightly higher than his previous pledges in which he called for creating at least 2.5 million new jobs. And while Obama committed to supporting clean power in his campaign with $150 billion over 10 years, the commitment to double clean power as part of his initial recovery and reinvestment plan is a bold move, given clean power generation tends to be less capital-efficient compared to energy efficiency programs.

Yet Obama didn’t specify many of the details in his clean power plan, or indicate what sectors he would focus on. As of 2007 the U.S. only got 7 percent of its power from renewable energy, according to the Energy Information Administration, which included hydroelectric power, but excluded nuclear power; nuclear power made up another 8 percent of power as of 2007. We’re not sure if the Obama administration is including nuclear and hydro in his renewable energy definition, and if the pledge to double renewable energy production will focus more on electricity generation. Regardless the speech will largely be applauded by the cleantech industry.