President Obama’s State of the Union speech on Tuesday night reiterated a commitment to clean technology and green energy, echoing earlier $100 billion efforts to boost green energy innovation and job creation in the U.S. Obama referred to the initiatives as our “Sputnik moment,” capable of pumping much-needed jobs into the weakened economy –and hinting at more federal investment coming into the clean-tech sector, HVAC, and other service industries.
According to Obama, his upcoming budget will “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.” Obama’s specific goals — sourcing 80 percent of electricity in the U.S. from clean energy by 2035, for example — may be unlikely, according to government projections. But the speech blew political wind into the clean energy sails, which seem deflated after the November shakeup in Congress.
As the Air Conditioning Contractors of America’s Charlie McCrudden writes, Obama’s plan may be thin on details (and doesn’t carry the weight of law). But the speech at least opened the possibility of federal funds for green projects — a potential economic windfall for the service sector. Says McCrudden:
On energy, Obama did talk about sparking more investment in renewable energy technologies and clean coal. Documents released by the White House after the speech mentioned the president’s budget next month would double federal funding for energy efficiency investments and provide 85 percent more money for renewable-energy projects. It would include programs to boost energy efficiency in schools, municipal buildings, offices, and other commercial structures, and expand construction of renewable-energy projects on public lands.