Obama on cleantech in SOTU address

Obama’s cleantech proposals in the SOTU address seem little more than cheerleading. For cleantech to be real here, we need a concerted effort at all levels. Right now we have endless squabbling and fragmentation. What’s needed is a unified national plan.

Obama is gung-ho on natural gas fracking, even though it’s been banned in some countries because it causes earthquakes. I’m guessing the massive ammounts of fracking to come will have massive unintended (and deleterious) consequences. Natural gas is cleaner than petroleum but is still dirty. This appears to be the centerpiece of his energy plan too.

A Trade Enforcement Unit aimed at China might help US wind and solar manufacturers a bit, but reminds of the old Silicon Valley axiom, “Those who can no longer innovate, litigate.” We are falling behind in cleantech. It is absurd and disheartening that the US still has no offshore wind.

“And I’m proud to announce that the Department of Defense, working with us, the world’s largest consumer of energy, will make one of the largest commitments to clean energy in history – with the Navy purchasing enough capacity to power a quarter of a million homes a year.”

Well, that’s nice, but a big coal or nuclear plant generates far more power than that. So this is more a gesture than anything else.