President Bush Highlights Support For Advanced EERE Technologies And Programs
October 13, 2006
Attendees at the Advancing Renewable Energy Conference in St. Louis, Missouri were challenged by President Bush Thursday to make development of alternative energy sources a national priority. EERE Assistant Secretary Alexander Karsner and Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman joined President Bush in his call to action to reduce US dependence of foreign sources of energy and develop domestic and renewable resources.
In his keynote address the President stated, "It's time to get rid of the old, stale debates on the environment and recognize new technologies are going to enable us to achieve a lot of objectives at the same time."
"Technology will enable us to be able to say we can grow our economy and protect our environment at the same time. It's not a zero-sum game anymore. These technological breakthroughs are going to say to our farmers, you're energy producers. And that's good for America. It's going to say to those entrepreneurs that are risk-takers, this is a good place to try to make a good return on capital."
Assistant Secretary Karsner supported those remarks in his closing address at the conference the same day.
"The prospect of massive penetration of renewable sources like wind, solar, geothermal, biomass, biofuels, hydrogen as well as new engine, battery storage, and vehicle efficiency technologies, is not only possible, it is something that is quantifiable; goals that can be planned, and pursued, and managed and funded," he said. "If we are willing to do what Americans do best: embrace innovation and entrepreneurship, marry science and commerce, think dynamically, and not be consumed by the seemingly static nature of the status quo."
"Our challenge is to pull together, as we have done here in St. Louis, and plan the resources, milestones, action plans, timelines, and deliverables for both basic and applied science; for research and development and deployment."
"Together, our efforts to transform our energy economy is a bellwether of what can be, and the world is watching and waiting, and will ultimately bear witness to our growth and direction."
The President also warned Americans today against becoming complacent about supporting alternative sources of energy just because gasoline prices are falling at the pump.
"I welcome the low gasoline prices," Bush said. "However, it's not going to dim my enthusiasm for making sure we diversify away from oil."
The President reaffirmed the Administration's commitment to expanding alternative fuels as a way to accomplish this goal.
"We need to continue what we're doing at the federal level, which is spend your money on research ... to find new ways to power our economy, new ways to conserve, new ways to protect the environment through new technologies." "Since I've been President, we've spent about $10 billion on research."
The President continued, "...the federal government's job is to continue to research so that we provide our consumers, the American people, with more options."
President Bush took this opportunity to largely focus on advancing biofuels in the energy infrastructure by stating, "I like the idea of promoting a fuel that relies upon our farmers. I happen to believe a good farm economy is important to a good national economy, and I also know it makes sense to have our farmers growing the feedstock for new energy."
"And in my judgment, the thing that's preventing ethanol from becoming more widespread across the country is the lack of other types of feedstocks that are required to make ethanol ... and it seems like it makes sense to spend money, your money, on researching cellulosic ethanol, so that we could use wood chips, or switch grass, or other natural materials."
"It makes a lot of sense for the federal government to continue to invest taxpayers' money, because the more different raw materials that are practical in use, the more ethanol production facilities will spread around the country. And the more spread around — the more production there is, the more likely it is that the entire industry will evolve quicker. "
To drive home this fact, the President mentioned the Department of Energy's recent announcement of $250 million in funding to establish and operate two new bioenergy research centers, all aimed at accelerating basic research into cellulosic ethanol and other biofuels.
"The vision has got to be for ... plants to be able to spread throughout the entire country. And when it does, ethanol will become a primary source for the fuel people use, which will help us meet our national security and economic concerns and objectives. "
The President concluded, "There is no question in my mind that we're on the verge of significant breakthroughs..."
"You're the beginning of what's going to be a new environmental debate, an economy based upon new technologies, a new way to power our automobiles, and a way that says by making good decisions now and researching now, we'll leave behind a better world for our children."