News

Obama announces actions on renewable energy

Obama announces actions on renewable energy

GOING GREEN:Joseph Roth checks the installation of South Florida’s largest solar panel array atop the future IKEA store in Miami, Wednesday, April 16. Photo: Associated Press/J Pat Carter

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama on Friday will announce executive orders to increase the use of solar panels, boost energy efficiency in federal buildings and train more people to work in the renewable energy field, the White House said.

The president, who will make the announcement during a visit to Walmart in Mountain View, California, will also highlight commitments by corporations to lift solar generation at their facilities. Walmart, Apple Inc, Yahoo Inc, Google Inc and Ikea were among the companies making such commitments.

Several financial institutions, including Citigroup Inc and Goldman Sachs Group Inc, were announcing new plans for “large scale investment and innovative programs” to develop solar and renewable energy installations, the White House said.

Obama’s executive actions would support efforts at community colleges so that 50,000 workers would join the solar industry by 2020, it said.

Another initiative would press for $2 billion in energy efficiency upgrades for federal buildings over the next three years, building on another $2 billion commitment from 2011.

Actions to strengthen building codes were also part of the mix.

“Investing in solar and efficiency makes sense to reduce our carbon emissions, but also for our pocketbooks and for our economy,” said Dan Utech, an energy adviser to Obama, during a conference call on Monday to preview Obama’s announcement.

He said the U.S. solar energy industry had expanded dramatically under Obama’s watch, with installations increasing to an amount enough to power more than 2 million homes.

“So momentum is increasing,” Utech said. “Since President Obama took office we’ve increased production from U.S. solar electricity more than tenfold, and in the last year, U.S. production of electricity from solar energy was double what it was just two years ago.”

An Obama spokesman also announced the completion of a project to install solar panels at the White House itself. The panels were American-made and part of an energy “retrofit” for the building that would improve its energy efficiency.

“The project, which helps demonstrate that historic buildings can incorporate solar energy and energy efficiency upgrades, is estimated to pay for itself in energy savings over the next eight years,” spokesman Matt Lehrich said.

(Reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

Recent Headlines

in Local

DeWitt Co. Settlement OK’d in Dispute to Put Toxic Waste Over Aquifer

water

DeWitt county has approved a settlement with a landfill company.

in Local

Kankakee Co. Sheriff Describes Security Lapses that led to Inmate Escape

inmate_exiting_kamron_taylor

Sheriff Tim Bukowski says investigators found no inmate count had been done.

in Local

House Approves Springfield High Speed Rail Oversight Act

high speed rail

An attempt to make sure fair hiring practices are implemented on Springfield's high speed rail 10th street consolidation project is moving forward.

in Local

Rauner Admin. Plans $106 Million in Medicaid Cuts

medicaid

Cuts to Medicaid will make up about one-third of the $300 million in spending reductions by Gov. Bruce Rauner's office

in Local

Butler: Future of $26M in Social Service Funding Unknown

Budget Cuts

State Representative Tim Butler says who knows if that $26 million Governor Bruce Rauner is holding from a number of state social service programs will be restored or not.