Environmentalists throughout the world are still in shock. Who would’ve every thought President Bush would push solar energy?
As you undoubtedly know by now, the President George Bush announced it was time to start weaning ourselves from our oil addiction during his State of the Union speech. As with anything in politics, there is much gnashing of the teeth as to whether the President, an avowed oil man form an oil family in Texas, really means to do anything. The answer, of course, is really almost irrelevant if people would stop to consider the fact that solar power was even mentioned in such a speech. Clearly, a baby step has been taken, if not a giant leap. So, what is the President’s grand plan?
From an overall perspective, President Bush has issued an Advanced Energy Initiative to begin changing our energy habits to cleaner, non-foreign supply, based fuels. As is his habit, the President has a Solar America Initiative as part of the larger initiative. This is where we find the key solar components.
With the Solar America Initiative, the administration has set a goal of accelerating widespread acceptance of clean solar technologies throughout the U.S. by 2015. Yes, it is a bit murky in regards to the exact goal, but the Energy Department recently clarified matters.
According to the Energy Department, the goal is to generate 5 to 10 megawatts of electricity in United States by 2015. While this may sound impressive, 10 megawatts of energy is barely enough to power two million homes. In comparison, California alone intends to put one million homes on solar in the next ten years. Put another way, the Solar America Initiative isn’t particularly impressive.
While the President appears to be paying lip service to solar energy in this Initiative, it should be noted that he is due more than a small bit of credit. First, he has put solar power and other clean energy on the political table. Second, the administration has taken major steps in other legislation to provide tax credits for solar power and renewable energy platforms. Those steps, not the Solar America Initiative, are going to make a major impact on the promotion of solar energy in the country. For that reason alone, the President should be applauded.