State of the Union
Clean energy came up in President Obama’s State of the Union address last night. He called for 80% of US electricity to come from clean energy sources by 2035. He made a point of mentioning this includes clean coal, natural gas, and nuclear power. That might not sit well with environmentalists, but makes the goal eminently more achievable, particularly with natural gas and nuclear in the equation.
To see what will change, here is what 2009 looked like (via eia.gov):
So, essentially the coal and petroleum slices of the pie need to drop from around 46% to 20% within around 25 years, with the other slices picking up the slack.
At around the same time, the New York Times reported on the departure of Carol Browner, the White House coordinator for energy and climate change policy. John M. Broder of the Times writes:
Her departure signals at least a temporary slowing of the ambitious environmental goals of President Obama’s first two years in the face of new Republican strength in Congress … Mr. Obama has acknowledged that no major climate change legislation is likely to pass in the next two years.
Climate change policy, such as cap & trade and renewable portfolio standards, would certainly have helped the 80% by 2035 goal. Without them, it would seem the path to achieving the goal is off to a tough start.
Update: By coincidence, my brother wrote a very informative story about this for AP – definitely worth checking out.
Update #2: Found the EIA’s projections, seemingly before this announcement – http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/aeo/early_elecgen.cfm
– has coal and petroleum at 44% in 2035, down from 46% in 2009, nuclear is down, renewables and natural gas up slightly — pretty modest change.