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Clean Energy Highlighted in President's State of the Union

February 20, 2013

President Obama delivers a speech in the Capitol with Vice-President Joe Biden and House Speaker John Boehner seated behind him.

President Obama highlighted clean energy during his State of the Union address on February 12, 2013.
Credit: Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy

President Obama on February 12 highlighted clean energy and challenged the nation to become even more energy efficient during his State of the Union address to Congress. During the speech marking the start of his second term of office, President Obama spoke about a range of clean energy topics, including cars and transportation, energy efficiency, manufacturing, and wind and solar energy. He called for continued national investment into research, saying "now is the time to reach a level of research and development not seen since the height of the Space Race. And today, no area holds more promise than our investments in American energy." He added, "We are finally poised to control our own energy future."

President Obama cited recent advances in wind and solar energy over the past four years, a period which began as "other countries dominated the clean energy market and the jobs that came with it." He noted that conditions in the clean energy market are improving in the United States. "Last year, wind energy added nearly half of all new power capacity in America. So let's generate even more. Solar energy gets cheaper by the year—so let's drive costs down even further."

President Obama also heralded new manufacturing efforts by announcing the launch of three more manufacturing hubs where businesses will partner with the Departments of Energy and Defense "to turn regions left behind by globalization into global centers of high-tech jobs." He said he is asking Congress to help create a network of 15 of these hubs to ensure that the United States remains a leader in manufacturing. As an indicator of progress, President Obama affirmed that now "we buy more American cars than we have in five years, and less foreign oil than we have in 20." Furthermore, he noted that those cars are more fuel efficient. "We have doubled the distance our cars will go on a gallon of gas," he said.

As he cited the benefits of reduced dependence on foreign oil, particularly the decline in carbon pollution as result of increased renewable energy usage, he challenged the nation to become even more energy efficient. "I'm also issuing a new goal for America: let's cut in half the energy wasted by our homes and businesses over the next 20 years." See the full text of the State of the Union address on the White House website.