Today, Obama will deliver a speech at Georgetown University to address concerns over the nation’s rising energy prices. The New York Times reports the President will call for one-third reduction of oil energy imports over the next ten years. The reduction in oil imports is imperative for the U.S. not only from an economic standpoint but also for geopolitical reasons. Politico’s Jamie Dupree posted the White House’s energy matters “talking points,” released today ahead of the President’s speech, which highlights the reduction goal:
In 2008, America imported 11 million barrels of oil a day. By 2025 – a little over a decade from now – we will have cut that by one-third.
The memo goes on to highlight America’s domestic energy programs, and it is interesting to note that Obama’s address will not introduce new programs. This is because there are already a number of programs in place to encourage the development of technologies (such as electric cars) and domestically produced energy. One effort the Administration plans to pursue worth mentioning here is the implementation of the Clean Energy Standard (CES). Obama first proposed the CES in his State of the Union address in January, calling for 80% of the nation’s electricity to come from clean energy technologies by 2035. Recently, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources Senator Bingaman and Senator Lisa Murkowski released a White Paper on the Clean Energy Standard to lay out the key questions and potential design of a CES to meet Obama’s call to action. The white paper points out that a number of CES proposals have been introduced in past Congresses, yet the concept has not yet been seriously considered. With Obama’s speech today calling for a reduction in oil imports by one-third, now it the opportune time to bring the CES to the forefront of debate and analysis.
A key advantage to the Clean Energy Standard is that it would help to provide market certainty for the clean energy industry. The uncertainty surrounding carbon pricing and renewable portfolio standards present challenges for emerging technologies aiming to compete with oil. Energy policy development in involves a broad spectrum of stakeholders, often making it difficult to achieve consensus. This white paper, and the President’s speech, is helping to move the process along defining the goals and seeking input for further action. At Ze-gen, we hope it will include a focus on the better use of clean and waste biomass for increased domestic energy production.