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Commentary

President Highlights Renewable Energy In Call To Space

President Barack Obama called the International Space Station via satellite link from the Roosevelt Room in the White House Tuesday. He used the opportunity to emphasize his plans for renewable energy and solar power.
President Barack Obama called the International Space Station via satellite link from the Roosevelt Room in the White House Tuesday. He used the opportunity to emphasize his plans for renewable energy and solar power.The President placed the video conference call while surrounded by Washington, D.C. middle school students and several members of Congress.

Although much of the conversation was more entertaining than informative (with tidbits like, astronauts can play video games in space and they don't drink Tang up there anymore), the President took the opportunity to congratulate the astronauts for completing the installation of solar panels.

The panels will help provide power to the ISS and its crewmembers.

During the call, Obama emphasized the importance of developing renewable energy, including solar power. The President included development of renewable energy as a priority for spending some of the money allocated through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The stimulus plan includes about $40 billion for energy spending.

Obama has drafted an energy plan with a goal of ensuring that Americans get 10% of their electricity from renewable resources by 2012. By 2025, he wants 25% of the United States' energy to come from renewable resources.

The President's plan also calls for the creation of five million new jobs through $150 billion worth of investments in private development of clean energy technology and systems over the next ten years. It also calls for a cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% within the next 41 years.

Finally, Obama's 2010 budget supports loan guarantees for innovative energy technologies (PDF), including renewable energy.

While energy doesn't make up a huge portion of U.S. spending, it's good to see an increased focus on it, since efforts to make it more efficient could have a big impact on government and consumers alike.

And, of course, it's good news for IT because someone will have to build and maintain the smart systems that deliver energy from those renewable resources.