‘Let the secret out’ about solar — Biden

Source: Robin Bravender, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, September 18, 2015

Vice President Joe Biden is a huge fan of solar power, and he wants others to jump on the bandwagon.

“It’s important to let the secret out,” Biden said of solar power today at a conference in Anaheim, Calif. “The more Americans who understand the possibilities of solar, this is going to increase exponentially,” he added. “Just imagine how much more we can do.”

The vice president was touting the Obama administration’s announcement today that it plans to invest $120 million to scale up solar energy projects across the country (E&E Daily, Sept. 16).

According to the White House, the average cost of solar electric systems has plunged by 50 percent since 2010, the industry added jobs 10 times faster than the rest of the economy last year, and solar power has increased twentyfold since Obama took office.

“We’re on the cusp of something huge here,” Biden said at the Solar Power International conference.

Biden criticized “special interests” that have pushed back against efforts to expand renewable energy. He called for tax credits that would incentivize renewable energy like solar and wind power, while criticizing the hefty subsidies that fossil fuel industries receive.

“We need to set an example for the whole world by eliminating these wasteful, unnecessary subsidies,” Biden said.

Biden said there will be some winners and losers as the energy sector transforms, and “we have to take care of the hardworking losers,” he said, citing a moral obligation. “But that is not a reason to continue a policy that is so damaging to our environment.”

The vice president also took a swipe at Republicans who deny climate change. “I think if you push them, they’d probably deny gravity, as well,” he said.

And he criticized Republican members of Congress who would allow the government to shut down over policy disputes and have “doubled down” on sequestration, despite broad cuts to scientific research and development. “Of all times to invest less in R&D,” he said. “Folks, we’re getting in our own way.”