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Obama delivers renewed renewable energy support for the US

One of the most powerful people on Earth, US President Barack Obama, gave a passionate address on climate change on 25 June during a visit to Georgetown University in Washington DC.

Obama wants to cut carbon pollution and reduce global warming and told an audience of students and visitors: ‘I refuse to condemn your generation, and future generations, to a planet that is beyond fixing.’

Among broad measures outlined, Obama wants to see a reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and the promotion of renewable energy while aiming to hit a 17% cut in carbon emissions recorded in 2005 by the end of this decade.

He also took the brave decision to bypass a Congress stuck in stalemate to issue an executive memo to the Environmental protection Agency (EPA)calling for new rules for power plants to limit GHG emissions.

The transportation sector has seen calls for further increased fuel economy standards for heavy duty trucks, with the plan also stating ‘biofuels have an important role to play in increasing our energy security, fostering rural economic development and reducing GHG emissions from this sector’.

The action plan also reaffirms the Obama administration’s support of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and points to investment by the government into research and development for next-generation biofuels.

The Advanced Ethanol Council (AEC) says the advanced ethanol industry stands behind the Obama administration in its effort to combat climate change.

'The President is right to identify the renewable fuel standard and existing federal regulations as critical to the effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the energy sector,’ states AEC executive director Brooke Coleman. ‘Pound for pound, advanced ethanol is the most carbon reductive alternative to gasoline in the world and the RFS is driving the commercial deployment of our industry.’

Furthermore, the action plan informs that the US has more than doubled electrical generation from renewable sources during Obama’s first term, and he hopes to do the same again by 2020.

 To help achieve that target, the Department of the Interior has been directed to approve 10GW of new renewable capacity by 2020. The plan also notes the Department of Defense is committed to deploying 3GW of renewable energy on military installations by 2025, including biomass.

‘There are two major areas where this administration’s aid can make a big difference for the biomass industry,’ Bob Cleaves, president of the Biomass Power Association, was quoted as saying. ‘The first would be a commitment to the use of federal lands for renewable energy production and, secondly, a confirmation of biomass’ value as a renewable energy source.’

Federal agencies are also setting a new goal to reach 100MW of installed renewable capacity across the federally subsidized housing stock by 2020.