It is no secret that Barack Obama, the first U.S. president to take decisive action on Climate Change, is a fan of solar. Obama dedicated a panel discussion at the White House’s South by South Lawn event last night to Climate Change, and touted a 30-fold increase in electricity generation from solar (along with a 3-fold increase in wind output) as one of the major climate achievements of his presidency.
On the panel Guest Climate Scientist Katharine Hayhoe also discussed the growth of solar and wind power, noting the deployment of renewables among more conservative parts of society, including Texas’ embrace of wind power and the deployment of solar PV and wind on U.S. military bases. The latter development owes much to the Obama Administration, which has set ambitious clean energy goals for the federal government, including the U.S. military.
President Obama also stressed the importance of energy storage. “Katharine is exactly right that solar and wind is becoming a job generator and an economic development engine,” stated Obama. “But what’s also true is we’re going to need some real innovation in things like, for example, battery storage.”
Despite the interest in innovation, President Obama was clear that the priority in combatting climate change at this time is to deploy existing technologies.
“With the technology that we have right now, my goal has been to build that bridge to this clean energy future,” explained Obama. “To make sure that over the next 20 years, using existing technologies, we do everything we can even as we’re creating the even more innovative technology, so that by the time those technologies are ready we haven’t already created an irreversible problem.”