May 17, 2020

Renewable Energy a Priority in President Obama's State of the Union Address

3 min
President Obama's Sate of the Union Address cited the Need for Renewable Energy
U.S. President Barack Obama has been adamant about research and investment in renewable energy throughout his term in office. Now, pandering to a republ...
U.S. President Barack Obama has been adamant about research and investment in renewable energy throughout his term in office. Now, pandering to a republican-led congress, Obama is making his way to the front of the party lines, coming off as more centrist than he has ever been to-date in an attempt to cooperate with his republican counterparts.

America’s conservative base has a large majority that is still suspicious of renewable energy, and believes that the immediate fiscal benefits of exploiting all of the United States’ oil and coal reserves far outweigh the negative environmental implications. However, the fact remains that there is a finite amount of these reserves available to the world, and renewable energy eventually must take over.

In his State of the Union Address, the president attempted to appeal to republicans when remarking on clean renewable energy. Obama incited the republican values of entrepreneurialism and business development that characterize the renewable energy movement, believing that the fast-emerging market is key to creating jobs of various skills sets, thus reviving the American economy. He promised to redirect billions of dollars in taxpayer money away from subsidies for oil companies toward renewable energy research and development.

President Obama stated, “clean energy breakthroughs will only translate into clean energy jobs if businesses know there will be a market for what they’re selling. So tonight, I challenge you to join me in setting a new goal: By 2035, 80 percent of America’s electricity will come from clean energy sources.”

Obama also set a goal of having 1 million alternative energy vehicles on the roads by 2015, and stressed the need for the U.S. to break its foreign dependency on oil.

The president even went so far as included clean coal and nuclear energy—favorites among republicans—as sources of clean renewable energy along with solar and wind (although coal is certainly not renewable as there is a finite amount in reserves).

Interestingly, apart from interchanging the words “renewable” energy with “clean” energy, the president made no mention of global warming and other environmentalist arguments in his call for an alternative energy future, making it all the more obvious that his message was directed to the still skeptical republican base.

In spite of the media backlash Obama is taking for his newfound interest and sleight shift to the right, the fact of the matter is that this is the smartest thing the president could do at this conjecture. He may even be able to accomplish more in the second-half of his term than the first by understanding his conservative counterparts and working together to create tangible solutions to the problems facing the United States and the world at-large—because if there’s one thing we’ve learned about American politics in the last 20 years, its that republicans, more-so than democrats, tend to get their way. When they don’t, they often refuse to collaboratively participate in the congressional process. So Obama may as well start learning how to work with them, otherwise it’s going to be an utterly wasted second-half of his presidential term.

 Source: The White House

Share article

May 13, 2021

All but two UK regions failing on school energy efficiency

Dominic Ellis
2 min
Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only UK regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil

Most schools are still "treading water" on implementing energy efficient technology, according to new analysis of Government data from eLight.

Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil, cutting expenditure by 4.4% and 0.9% respectively. Every other region of England increased its average energy expenditure per pupil, with schools in Inner London doing so by as much as 23.5%.

According to The Carbon Trust, energy bills in UK schools amount to £543 million per year, with 50% of a school’s total electricity cost being lighting. If every school in the UK implemented any type of energy efficient technology, over £100 million could be saved each year.

Harvey Sinclair, CEO of eEnergy, eLight’s parent company, said the figures demonstrate an uncomfortable truth for the education sector – namely that most schools are still treading water on the implementation of energy efficient technology. Energy efficiency could make a huge difference to meeting net zero ambitions, but most schools are still lagging behind.

“The solutions exist, but they are not being deployed fast enough," he said. "For example, we’ve made great progress in upgrading schools to energy-efficient LED lighting, but with 80% of schools yet to make the switch, there’s an enormous opportunity to make a collective reduction in carbon footprint and save a lot of money on energy bills. Our model means the entire project is financed, doesn’t require any upfront expenditure, and repayments are more than covered by the energy savings made."

He said while it has worked with over 300 schools, most are still far too slow to commit. "We are urging them to act with greater urgency because climate change won’t wait, and the need for action gets more pressing every year. The education sector has an important part to play in that and pupils around the country expect their schools to do so – there is still a huge job to be done."

North Yorkshire County Council is benefiting from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which has so far awarded nearly £1bn for energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects around the country, and Craven schools has reportedly made a successful £2m bid (click here).

The Department for Education has issued 13 tips for reducing energy and water use in schools.

Share article