The President's Weekly Address
Over the past 20 months, we've been fighting not just to create more jobs today, but to rebuild our economy on a stronger foundation. Our future as a nation depends on making sure that the jobs and industries of the 21st century take root here in America. And there is perhaps no industry with more potential to create jobs now and growth in the coming years than clean energy.
For decades, we've talked about the importance of ending our dependence on foreign oil and pursuing new kinds of energy, like wind and solar power. But for just as long, progress had been prevented at every turn by the special interests and their allies in Washington.
So year after year, our dependence on foreign oil grew. Families have been held hostage to spikes in gas prices. Good manufacturing jobs have gone overseas. And we've seen companies produce new energy technologies and high-skilled jobs not in America, but in countries like China, India, and Germany.
That's why it was essential, for our economy, our security, and our planet, that we finally tackle this challenge. That's why, since we took office, my administration has made an historic commitment to promote clean energy technology. This will mean hundreds of thousands of new American jobs by 2012: jobs for contractors to install energy-saving windows and insulation; jobs for factory workers to build high-tech vehicle batteries, electric cars, and hybrid trucks; jobs for engineers and construction crews to create wind farms and solar plants that are going to double the renewable energy we can generate in this country. These are jobs building the future.
For example, I want share with you one new development made possible by the clean energy incentives we have launched. This month, in the Mojave Desert, a company called BrightSource plans to break ground on a revolutionary new type of solar power plant. It's going to put about a thousand people to work building a state-of-the-art facility. And when it's complete, it will turn sunlight into the energy that will power up to 140,000 homes, the largest such plant in the world. Not in China, not in India, but in California.
With projects like this one and others across this country, we are staking our claim to continued leadership in the new global economy. And we're putting Americans to work producing clean, homegrown American energy that will help lower our reliance on foreign oil and protect our planet for future generations.
Now, there are some in Washington who want to shut them down. In fact, in the pledge they recently released, the Republican leadership is promising to scrap all the incentives for clean energy projects, including those currently underway, even with all the jobs and potential that they hold.
This doesn't make sense for our economy. It doesn't make sense for Americans who are looking for jobs. And it doesn't make sense for our future. To go backwards and scrap these plans means handing the competitive edge to China and other nations. It means that we'll grow even more dependent on foreign oil. And at a time of economic hardship, it means foregoing jobs we desperately need. In fact, shutting down just this one project would cost about a thousand jobs.
That's what's at stake in this debate. We can go back to the failed energy policies that profited the oil companies but weakened our country. We can go back to the days when promising industries got set up overseas. Or we can go after new jobs in growing industries. And we can spur innovation and help make our economy more competitive. We know the choice that's right for America. We need to do what we've always done: put our ingenuity and can-do spirit to work to fight for a brighter future.
NOTE: The address was recorded at approximately 2:30 p.m. on October 1 in the Diplomatic Reception Room at the White House for broadcast on October 2. The transcript was made available by the Office of the Press Secretary on October 1, but was embargoed for release until 6 a.m. on October 2. The Office of the Press Secretary also released a Spanish language transcript of this address.
Barack Obama, The President's Weekly Address Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/288879