Additionally, the President announced a Presidential Memorandum to create an Interagency Task Force on Carbon Capture and Storage to develop "a comprehensive and coordinated Federal strategy to speed the development and deployment of clean coal technologies." The White House said, "Our nation's economy will continue to rely on the availability and affordability of domestic coal for decades to meet its energy needs, and these advances are necessary to reduce pollution in the meantime." The President called for five to ten commercial demonstration projects to be up and running by 2016.
In addition to the announcements made at the meeting with the Governors, it should be noted that the White House has recently made two important decision related to nuclear power as well. On January 29, the President called for the formation of a Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future to provide recommendations for developing a safe, long-term solution to managing the Nation's used nuclear fuel and nuclear waste [See WIMS 1/29/10]. And, on February 1, DOE Secretary Steven Chu issued a release reviewing the President's $28.4 billion Fiscal Year 2011 budget and said it included "restarting the American nuclear power industry." It includes an increase to $54.5 billion, from the $18.5 billion currently allotted, the amount of Federal loan guarantees to be accessed by companies planning to build new nuclear power plants.
President Obama also made an interesting comment, not widely reported, in response to a question at a Town Hall Meeting in Nashua, New Hampshire on February 2, that may indicate a shift in Administration policy. The Questioner said, ". . .if we can invest in technology here at home, to develop clean technology, place that technology in developing countries, not only just where they can have energy and electricity to be productive with, but establish with that an economic system where they have jobs and they are opening up new markets that we can sell our products into and that we can build our relationships with their leaders through. And at home, if we can focus on making ourselves more energy efficient, because we are a very inefficient country when it comes to the use of energy, just like all of the industrialized countries. These two things, I think, done first can help us to avoid having to do cap and trade and other aspects with environmental controls that are going to have negative impacts on our economy. We need to make productive use of our technology and our people so that we can clean up the economy, put people to work, and then if that isn't sufficient enough, we then go to the kinds of programs that have been talked about at the Copenhagen summit." The President replied, "First of all, those are such good ideas I've already adopted them, although I didn't know they came from you."
"Now, there's no reason that we shouldn't be able to work together in a bipartisan way to get this done. I know that there is some concern about how energy fits together with climate change. I happen to believe that climate change is one of the reasons why we've got to pursue a clean energy agenda, but it's not the only reason. So even if you don't believe in the severity of climate change, as I do, you still should want to pursue this agenda. It's good for our national security and reducing our dependence on foreign oil. It's good for our economy because it will produce jobs. We can't afford to spin our wheels while the rest of the world speeds ahead. . .
Biomass Crop Assistance Program. USDA has proposed a rule for Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) to convert biomass to bioenergy and bio-based products. USDA provides grants and loans and other financial support to help biofuels and renewable energy commercialization. BCAP has already begun to provide matching payments to folks delivering biomass for the collection, harvest, storage, and transportation of biomass to eligible biomass conversion facilities.
Biofuels Working Group. In May, President Obama established the Biofuels Interagency Working Group – co-chaired by USDA, DOE, and EPA, and with input from many others – to develop a comprehensive approach to accelerating the investment in and production of American biofuels and reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. Today the Working Group released its first report: Growing America's Fuel – a new U.S. Government strategy for meeting or beating the country's biofuel targets. The report is focused on short term solid government solutions supporting the existing biofuels industry, as well as accelerating the commercial establishment of advanced biofuels and a viable long-term market by transforming how the U.S. Government does business across Departments and using strategic public-private partnerships.
Presidential Memorandum for a Comprehensive Federal Strategy on Carbon Capture and Storage. Charting the path toward clean coal is essential to achieving the Administration's clean energy goals, supporting American jobs and reducing emissions of carbon pollution. Rapid development and deployment of clean coal technologies, particularly carbon capture and storage (CCS), will help position the U.S. as a leader in the global clean energy race. The President's memorandum establishes an Interagency Task Force on Carbon Capture and Storage to develop a comprehensive and coordinated federal strategy to speed the development and deployment of clean coal technologies.