State of the Union: Obama calls for 80 percent clean energy by 2035

In an unprecedented move, U.S. President Barack Obama put clean energy front and center on the agenda of the American government - calling for an 80 percent clean energy target by 2035.

In his yearly State of the Union address to the nation's lawmakers, Obama said it is time for America to invest in the energy of the future and stop supporting the energy of the past. He called on Congress to remove all subsidies for fossil fuels and to reinvest the money saved into clean energy initiatives.

The President said he hopes America can obtain 80 percent of its energy from clean sources by 2035, the most aggressive target ever set forth by a president. While renewable energy supporters were thrilled with the bold target, they were reminded during the speech that Obama's idea of clean energy is broad: His target includes nuclear energy, clean coal and natural gas, in addition to traditional renewables like wind, solar, biomass, geothermal and hydro.

"Some folks want wind and solar. Others want nuclear, clean coal and natural gas," he said. "To meet this goal, we will need them all – and I urge Democrats and Republicans to work together to make it happen."

Linda Church Ciocci of the National Hydropower Association applauded the President's bold initiatives and said that hydropower is poised to meet the mandate.

"With the potential to double its contribution, expanding our hydro resources is key to achieving the President's vision of the future," she said. "We strongly support a national standard to expand clean and renewable energy that includes and promotes development of affordable, reliable and available American hydropower."

Rhone Resch of the Solar Energy Industries Association was tweeting during the State of the Union address. He called the President's agenda for clean energy "ambitious," and said "solar is ready to do its part to create jobs, innovate and keep U.S. competing."

This article was reprinted with permission from RenewableEnergyWorld.com as part of the PennWell Corporation Renewable Energy World Network and may not be reproduced without express written permission from the publisher.

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