“I’m all for consumers saving money,” President Obama said Aug. 24 in Las Vegas, citing evidence that clean energy has become cheaper than ever. Americans are choosing wind and solar “not because they’re tree huggers, but because they’re cost-cutters,” he said. “They like saving money.”
The president delivered his remarks as part of his keynote address for the 8th Annual National Clean Energy Summit, hosted by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid.
He was joined in attendance by Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, Nevada Congresswoman Dina Titus, Former Counselor to President Obama John Podesta, Chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts International Jim Murren, President of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Len Jessup, and AWEA CEO Tom Kiernan.
The president highlighted the administration’s recently announced Clean Power Plan while promoting the progress made by growing American-made renewable energy sources like wind and solar power. He also focused on his vision for continued growth while strongly advising why we can’t let the naysayers hold us back – especically given the consumer benefits and job creation that will come with harvesting more of our electricity from wind and solar energy.
Obama’s “cost-cutters” line was a fan favorite and is backed up by the facts as the U.S. Department of Energy recently reported wind energy has lowered its costs by nearly two-thirds over the past six years, resulting in billions of dollars in savings being passed onto owners of American homes and businesses.
Here’s a short clip from the New York Times coverage of the President’s speech:
You can read all of his best quotes about the rapid growth of renewables here:
- “When I took office, I pledged to double our production of wind and solar by the end of my first term. We met that goal ahead of schedule.”
- “Today, America is number one in wind power, generating three times as much wind energy as we did in 2008. Generating three times as much wind energy as we did in 2008.”
- “There are now more than 500 wind manufacturers across 43 states, supplying the wind industry. An industry that supports more than 50,000 jobs, and supplies enough energy to power 16 million homes.”
- “Some states have made even greater strides. Last year for example, Iowa generated nearly 30 percent of its electricity from the wind.“
- “If we keep investing in wind, rather than making short-sighted cuts wind could supply 35% of America’s electricity and supply renewable power in all 50 states by the year 2050.”
- “Google is the largest corporate buyer of renewable energy in the world. Companies like Apple and Costco are close behind. They are not doing this just out of altruism. They are doing it because it means big cost savings. And that can mean big things for local communities.”
- “America’s making incredible progress on this issue and that’s one of the reasons why I recently committed this country to getting 20% of our energy from renewables, beyond hydroelectric power, by 2030.”
- “For all the promise of solar, it’s still a small share of our economy energy mix, less than 1 percent. Wind makes up almost 5 percent. But here is the thing. Solar made up almost one-third of all new generating capacity last year, wind power made up another 20 percent. So we see where consumers want to go. And that, let’s be honest, has some big fossil fuel interests pretty nervous. To the point where they are trying to fight renewable energy. Now it’s one thing if you’re consistent in being free market. It’s another when you’re free market until it’s solar that working and people want to buy and suddenly you’re not for it any more. That’s a problem.”
- “This is not and should not be a Republican versus Democratic issue. This should be an issue that bring everybody together. Every one should care about this. If you’re a libertarian you should care about this, if you just want to save some money you should care about it, and if you care about the future of our children and grandchildren, you should care about it.”
- “This is about whether big polluters control the system or whether consumers have freedom to choose cleaner, cheaper, more efficient energy. Whether we protect old ways of doing business even when they are not efficient or dream up new business models that bring new technologies in our homes and businesses and new jobs into our communities. This is about the past versus the future. And America believes in the future and to make that future a reality we’ve got to have everybody, utilities, entrepreneurs, workers, businesses, consumers, energy regulators, tree huggers, tea partiers, everybody’s got to seize the opportunity before us. There’s something big happening in America. For the first time we can actually see what our clean energy future looks like. And yes, the closer we get to the future, opposition will fight even harder to keep things the way they’ve been. Folks will get louder in some of that backlash, and put out press releases suggesting that somehow this is bad for America. But we can’t pay attention to that. Folks’ interests or ideologies run counter to where we need to go, we’ve got to be able to politely but firmly say, sorry, we’re moving forward.”
- “[They say] moving to clean energy economy is going to somehow cripple our economy, will lead to fewer jobs, you know, they hold up snowballs in February if that somehow disproves decades of scientific data, if they suggest that we got to set our sights lower and delay action, because we can’t figure this stuff out, I just want everybody to remember, we’ve heard these arguments before. We have engaged in this debate many times before. It’s taken different forms, but this is an age-old debate in America. Debate between the folks who say no, we can’t and the folks who say yes, we can. Between those who fear the future and those who are eager to seize the future. And although sometimes there’s some growing pains, America always comes down on the side of the future. We’ve always been a people who reach. Proudly and boldly and unafraid, to that promising future.
- “We refuse to surrender the hope of a clean energy future to those who fear it and fight it. And sometimes provide misinformation about it. Because the naysayers always underestimate where the American people are capable of and we prove that every day. All across this country, right now, you’ve got once dusty plains and rundown buildings that are now solar fields and roof top arrays, all across this country right now, once shutters factories are humming, retraining workers to build turbines, now we’re making energy and exporting it, technology made in America.”
You can read the president’s full speech here or watch it below: