In association with the State of the Union, the White House released “A Blueprint for An America Built to Last“.
Within it, “A Blueprint to Make the Most of America’s Energy Resources” (full section after the fold) from which we learn that “nuclear power, efficient natural gas, and clean coal” are “renewable energy” sources.
Now, if we wish to speak in terms of 10s of millions of years, it seems true that coal, natural gas, and oil are renewable. Today’s biomass will, over that sort of geologic time, create (renew, one might say) new fossil fuel supplies. However, in any rational discussion, these are not “renewable” fuels within any context of human civilization.
From the White House document:
renewable energy sources like wind, solar, biomass, hydropower, nuclear power, efficient natural gas, and clean coal.
This is, almost certainly an issue of poor writing. (It could have read “nuclear power, efficient natural gas, clean coal, and renewable energy sources like wind, solar, biomass, and hydropower.” That rewrite, however, would have put renewables at the back of the line and hurt the President among those (e.g., the majority of Americans) strongly supportive of greater investment in renewable energy deployment and research.)
This section, however, has far more serious problems. Most importantly, the President’s whole-sale throwing in the hat with the ‘natural gas is good for the environment and economy’ propaganda that is a Potemkin Village when it comes to addressing the nation’s real challenges. On that Potemkin Village, for example, see
- Joe Romm, Natural Gas Is A Bridge To Nowhere — Absent a Serious Price for Global Warming Pollution
- A Siegel, CAP’s American Fuel: Contaminated on so many levels
A Blueprint to Make the Most of America’s Energy Resources
Promote safe, responsible development of the near 100-year supply of natural gas, supporting more than 600,000 jobs while ensuring public health and safety: In 2009, we became the world’s leading producer of natural gas. Tonight, the President directed the Administration to ensure safe shale gas development that, according to independent estimates, will support more than 600,000 jobs by the end of the decade. These actions will include moving forward with common-sense new rules to require disclosure of the chemicals used in fracking operations on public lands.
Incentivize manufacturers to make energy upgrades, saving $100 billion over the next decade: The President announced a new proposal to increase the energy efficiency of the industrial sector by providing new incentives and breaking down regulatory barriers for manufacturers to upgrade equipment and eliminate wasted energy in their facilities, saving $100 billion from the nation’s energy bills and reducing the amount of energy we import from foreign countries.
Create clean energy jobs in the United States: The President called on Congress to build on our success in positioning America to be the world’s leading manufacturer in high-tech batteries and reiterated his call for action on clean energy tax credits and a national goal of moving toward clean sources of electricity by setting a standard for utility companies, so that by 2035, 80% of the nation’s electricity will come from clean sources, including renewable energy sources like wind, solar, biomass, hydropower, nuclear power, efficient natural gas, and clean coal. Because Congress has not yet acted on this and other key steps to achieve a clean energy economy, the President announced that the Department of the Navy will make the largest renewable energy purchase in history – one gigawatt. In addition, the President is directing the Department of Interior to permit 10 gigawatts of renewables projects by the end of the year, enough to power three million homes.