Monday, October 26, 2015

Here’s What They're Saying About President Obama’s Clean Power Plan - WhiteHouse

There is consensus across a broad swath of supporters -- from businesses to mayors, medical professionals to faith leaders, and environmentalists to civil rights groups -- that this landmark action will protect public health, reduce energy bills for households and businesses, create American jobs, and bring clean power to communities across the country.
Today, President Obama announced the Administration’s biggest step yet in the fight against global climate change – the Clean Power Plan, which sets the first-ever carbon pollution standards for power plants.
There is consensus across a broad swath of supports – from business to mayors, medical professionals to faith leader, and environmentalists to civil rights groups, that this landmark action will protect public health, reduce energy bills for households and businesses, create American jobs, and bring clean power to communities across the country.
Below are just some of the reactions:
American Lung Association, Harold P. Wimmer, National President and CEO:
Today, President Obama honored his commitment to act on climate change, a public health emergency. The Clean Power Plan is a tremendous step forward in the United States’ fight against carbon pollution and climate change that will also bring immediate health benefits to the American people. EPA estimates that the Clean Power Plan will prevent up to 3,600 premature deaths and 90,000 asthma attacks in 2030, as well as prevent 300,000 missed days of work and school.

National Hispanic Medical Association, President and CEO Elena Rios:
I, along with the National Hispanic Medical Association’s 50,000 member doctors and allied health professionals, strongly support the EPA’s final rule limiting carbon pollution from existing power plants. Pollution from these power plants — both carbon pollution and other toxic power-plant emissions — sickens people raising the risk of illnesses like asthma, allergies, lung cancer and heart disease.

American Public Health Association, Executive Director Georges Benjamin, MD:
We applaud the Clean Power Plan for boldly addressing this problem now. The new plan is projected to prevent 3,600 premature U.S. deaths and 90,000 asthma attacks among our nation’s children. Close to 90 percent of deaths resulting from power plant emissions will be prevented and the nation’s students and workers will see 300,000 fewer missed school and work days.

U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM), President Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake:
Cities have been leading the way since 2005 with over 1,000 Mayors pledging to reduce their carbon emissions below 1990 levels through their efforts to increase energy efficiency and renewable energy, retrofitting lights and buildings, reducing waste, increasing recycling efforts, and reducing landfill emissions. The Mayors of this nation look forward to working with their states and engaging more with the utilities to implement sustainable GHG emission reductions that will not only protect the environment but also realize cost savings for consumers and businesses in their communities.

SEIU, International President, Mary Kay Henry:
In today’s out-of-balance economy, many hard-working moms and dads struggle to make ends meet and provide better lives for their families. At home and in their communities, many families are forced to breathe the most hazardously dirty air in America, caused by carbon emissions from nearby power plants — especially in communities of color. SEIU is the largest healthcare workers’ union in the United States. Our members know first-hand the impact of both life-threatening pollution and extreme weather events. The Clean Power Plan will both reduce greenhouse gas emissions that result in climate change and loosen the air pollution chokehold on working families’ lives and livelihoods by helping to improve air quality, which will provide relief to children and adults suffering from asthma and other respiratory ailments.

Blue Green Alliance, Executive Director Kim Glas:
Climate change is an environmental problem and an economic problem. But if we do this right, our actions to address it can become an opportunity. We look forward to working together in the coming months to develop an inclusive and comprehensive plan that protects our environment and creates growth and shared prosperity for generations to come.

Consumers Union, Policy Counsel Shannon Baker-Branstetter:
Many states are already well on their way in moving to cleaner sources of energy. Consumer Reports has long advocated for greater energy efficiency and clean energy as ways to lower electric bills in the long-term. The Clean Power Plan has a very reasonable schedule for states to implement these improvements, and the plan offers states the flexibility and control they need to reach the goals of cutting emissions in the most cost-effective ways.

Calvert Investments, Vice President of Shareholder Advocacy Stu Dalheim:
Climate change poses serious risks to financial markets and the U.S. economy which manages more than $13.5 billion. At Calvert, we believe solutions to climate change offer real opportunities to U.S. investors and companies. That’s why we strongly support the EPA’s Clean Power Plan. It’s common-sense, flexible and pragmatic approach will provide investors with the certainty needed to put their capital to work to continue the transition to a low-carbon economy.

CERES, President Mindy Lubber:
The Clean Power Plan is the right measure at the right time. It’s a flexible, practical and economically sound blueprint to transition America toward a low-carbon future. That’s why 365 leading companies, from small local businesses to iconic Fortune 500 brands, are supporting the EPA rule publicly and are calling for timely finalization of state implementation plans by state governors.

EverPower, President & CEO Jim Spencer:
There are 57,000 clean energy jobs in Pennsylvania and with the Clean Power Plan, we should expect that number to grow considerably. By allowing our state the opportunity to craft better, stronger renewable energy and energy efficiency policies, we can provide the market signal businesses, like mine, to keep investing in our state. This creates good jobs that can’t be outsourced, cuts carbon pollution and expands our economy.

General Mills, Chief Sustainability Officer Jerry Lynch:
General Mills is committed to doing our part to tackle climate change and we fully support the effective implementation of the Clean Power Plan. In particular, we applaud the efforts of our home state of Minnesota for the progress its energy officials are making in building a plan that will work cost-effectively for the families, farmers, municipalities and the business community alike.

SunEdison for EMEA and Americas, Executive Vice President Paul Gaynor:
The Clean Power Plan presents an important opportunity to create thousands of jobs, save customers money, and improve reliability of our electrical system. This isn’t about politics – it’s about economic opportunity for all Americans, and cost savings for everyone.

Calpine Corporation, President and Chief Executive Officer Thad Hill:
The Clean Power Plan represents a commitment to continuing the transition from carbon-intensive generation to efficient, low-carbon generation, This flexible, market-based solution will reward the companies that invest and have invested smartly in cleaner generation. We applaud the EPA for its efforts throughout this collaborative process and look forward to working with the agency, states and other stakeholders as the rule is ultimately implemented.

We are pleased to see the administration responded to the comments we and others made, that renewables are ready to serve. The Clean Energy Incentive Program holds promise as a way to encourage states to move forward well before 2022, we look forward to the opportunity the EPA is providing to comment on the details. We know wind energy is a solution that works, and we’re ready to meet this challenge.

PGE Corporation, President and CEO Tony Earley:
I congratulate the Administration on finalizing the Clean Power Plan rule and greatly appreciate the significant outreach and engagement with our sector. They took the time to understand that states and regions are in different starting places and have different opportunities for achieving emission reductions. While we are optimistic about the contributions this rule will make, it is very complex and we must complete an assessment of its impact on our customers, state and region.

Xcel Energy, CEO Ben Fowke:
Implementing clean energy is familiar ground for Xcel Energy. We have worked for years with our states to increase the use of renewable resources, to help customers save energy and to modernize and retire our coal plants—all at a reasonable cost. This approach has put our company on a sound course to achieve a 30 percent reduction in carbon dioxide by 2020. We appreciate the EPA’s willingness to work with stakeholders in developing this groundbreaking and complex set of regulations.

Dominion, Chairman, President and CEO Thomas F. Farrell II:
The compliance targets for Virginia have moved in a positive direction that fairly recognizes the role of natural gas generation in reducing emissions. Dominion will work constructively with Governor McAuliffe, the state agencies, and other stakeholders on a compliance plan that has our customers as the first priority, ensures reliability, and maintains a diverse mix of electric generation. I commend Administrator McCarthy for making critical changes to the proposed rule.

The bishops welcome this important move by the administration to adopt long-awaited standards to mitigate climate change and safeguard public health, which are significant ways to live out our responsibility to care for God’s creation.

Green for All, Founder Van Jones:
If the news reports are accurate, the EPA will give extra credit to states that move early — and even more credit to states that focus on getting energy efficiency and renewables to low-income communities. That’s a big win for everyone working to get energy bills down and solar panels up in poor neighborhoods.

U.S. Black Chambers, President and CEO Ron Busby:
The EPA has devised a plan to have clean energy and build a low-carbon economy—and the Clean Power Plan is the solution. The implementation of the Clean Power Plan will reduce health related respiratory risks, create jobs in the clean energy industry and will also set a criterion to be replicated globally. The United States needs to spearhead this initiative of creating new ways to battle and prepare for climate change that has already impacted areas throughout the world. The U.S. Black Chambers, Inc. is committed to supporting the Clean Power Plan. USBC believes this action plan is the first step in combating climate change.

Truman National Security Project, Executive Director Mike Breen:
Power plants are currently responsible for 40 percent of America’s carbon dioxide emissions and one-third of domestic greenhouse gas emissions overall. We applaud the EPA for taking this step to reduce carbon emissions that contribute to climate change. This new rule builds upon steps already taken by our military to address the threat of climate change and puts the United States on the right trajectory to be a global leader in slashing emissions that fuel climate change. This is a positive step towards addressing the serious threat climate change poses to our national security.

Snow Sports Industries America, the National Ski Areas Association and Protect Our Winters:
The winter sports community applauds these historic standards. We appreciate the Administration’s bold leadership in placing meaningful reduction standards on the largest source of carbon emissions. It’s what’s needed in order to grow our $62 billion industry, support our 964,000 jobs and maintain the vibrancy of our resort communities that depend on tourism dollars throughout the year. These tighter targets and increased incentives for renewable energy and efficiency will help address the impacts of climate change – warmer, shorter winters, drought and wildfires. They will also position the U.S. well for upcoming climate talks in Paris at the end of this year. We know that these standards are good for our businesses and the future of our sports. It’s time now to embrace innovation and clean energy, and we thank The White House and the EPA for taking the first major step towards making that happen.

League of Conservation Voters, President Gene Karpinski:
In forty years of environmental advocacy, I’ve never been more proud of any President.  A challenge as great as climate change requires steps as bold as this. These historic standards, which are the single biggest step our government has ever taken, will finally put a stop to our nation’s largest polluters’ ability to spew an unlimited amount of carbon pollution into our air. The politics of climate change have been steadily evolving over the last several years with poll after poll showing a majority of Americans supporting action to limit carbon pollution. Those politicians who oppose these widely popular new protections and repeat the fact-free talking points of the corporate polluters do so against the wishes of their constituents.

Natural Resources Defense Council, President Rhea Suh:
It’s a simple idea that will change the world: Cut carbon pollution today so our kids won’t inherit climate chaos tomorrow. That’s what this historic plan will achieve.

Sierra Club, Executive Director Michael Brune:
The Clean Power Plan is an opportunity for workers, entrepreneurs, and businesses to prosper as we go above and beyond the goals set by this plan. It is a step towards improving the quality of life for low income neighborhoods and communities of color, which have disproportionately borne the brunt of power plant pollution for decades. And it is a signal to the rest of the world that the U.S. is serious about acting on climate disruption and ready to lead the way toward a strong international climate agreement in Paris later this year.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Government distributes 2 crore LED bulbs, saves Rs 1,000 crore a year

NEW DELHI: The Narendra Modi government's programme to get consumers to replace less efficient CFL or incandescent lights with latest LED bulbs is gaining momentum, with the number of bulbs distributed crossing the 2-crore mark and generating annual savings of over Rs 1,000 crore. 

Government distributes 2 crore LED bulbs, saves Rs 1,000 crore a year
The government is now looking to place an order for 10 crore bulbs, power minister Piyush Goyal 

Data available with the government showed that more than 2 crore subsidized LED bulbs had been distributed under the Domestic Efficient Lighting Programme till Thursday evening, helping in daily energy savings of 73 lakh units, which translates into Rs 2.9 crore a day.

READ ALSO: LED bulbs to save up to Rs. 40,000cr, says Piyush Goyal 

With the programme gaining momentum, lighting giant Philips and other companies have shown interest in setting up manufacturing facility in the country given that the scale is suddenly looking much bigger than what they had originally anticipated. The government is looking to provide 77 crore bulbs by 2018. 

"Since the order was small, parts of components are being imported. But now everyone is saying we want to manufacture in India," power minister Piyush Goyal told TOI. He said an earlier skepticism is giving way to genuine interest in the Indian market.


The DELP was launched by Modi on January 5. The scheme also fits well with the Modi government's strategy for climate talks since it is helping reduce the carbon footprint as well as reducing peak power demand by close to 700 MW through lower energy consumption. 

Although some of the states had been slow off the block, they are now gaining pace. Among the states, Andhra Pradesh is currently way ahead of the pack with 65 lakh bulbs, followed by Delhi at a little under 34 lakh and Uttar Pradesh at 33 lakh. Guntur in Andhra appeared to be the top performing district in the country, with 18.6 lakh LED bulbs. 

Goyal said hard bargain has seen bulb prices come down from Rs 310 for a 7W bulb to Rs 73 for a 9W bulb last month with "no compromise on technical aspects, or on the qualification criteria". The government is now looking to place an order for 10 crore bulbs, the minister said.

Solar Panel Prices in India - Rooftop Solar PV buying Guide in India

Electricity is becoming expensive with each passing day and more people are getting interested in using solar energy to meet their electricity needs. Power cuts and dependence on DG sets is making people look for more and better sources. Solar PV panels provide a very good alternative. Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), Government of India is also promoting solar PV systems under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission in the country. They also provide subsidy to people buying solar panels under this scheme. There are a lot of people keen in buying solar panels in India so we thought of doing a research on price of solar panels. Below is our research on price of solar panels:
As per our resources from the solar PV industry, cost of a PV module (just the panel) costs anywhere between Rs 30 to Rs 60 per watt of power generated (depending on the quantity you are buying). A good imported module will cost around Rs 40-45 per watt (for bulk transactions, not for retail). Good ones manufactured in India would come as low as Rs 30-32 per watt (for bulk transactions, not for retail). Please note that this is the cost for the panel and in case you are looking for inverter and batteries, the cost would be additional. A good 5 kW system for a home would cost around Rs 5-7 lakhs to setup (at retail price of around Rs 50-60 per Wp) , which can provide electricity for 25 years. The additional operating cost will include the cost of replacing the batteries.
MNRE provides 30% capital subsidy on capital expenditures for rooftop solar systems for both commercial and residential entities for systems up to 100 kW. The government also provides loans at 5% per annum for 50% of the capital expenditure for 5 years tenure for both commercial and residential entities. Commercial entities can claim either capital or interest subsidies. (note: As on October 2014, we have heard from several vendors that subsidy is hard to get, as either the applications are not being processed or taking quite a lot of time to get processed. Please check with your vendor if they will be able to get you subsidy or not.).
MNRE has also published a list of authorized suppliers and manufacturers that is available at the links: and
We have also started doing some research on the prices of Solar PV Panels from various manufacturers in the country and here are some numbers from a good indian manufacturer (for bulk transaction) and some retail vendors/suppliers (for retail/small transactions):
Please note that Mono is for Monocrystaline PV cell and Multi is for Multicrystaline (or Polycrystaline) PV cell. The difference between the two is that Monocrystaline is made of single silicon crystal whereas Multicrystaline PV is made up of multiple crystals. A monocrystaline is more efficient in converting solar energy into electricity per sq meter area than a multicrystaline PV. Thus the space required for the same amount of wattage is less in monocrystaline PV panel. Thus it is costlier than a Multicrystaline PV. The choice between the two depends on the area that you have for PV installation. Also the price increases as you decrease the panel wattage. So smaller the panel you buy, costlier it is.
More details on Solar PV roof top systems are also available on our link: Roof-Top Solar PV system project for home and office
Understand more about basics of Solar PV systems on our link: Solar electric, solar thermal, power generation, inverters, grid, off-grid: clearing the cobweb
Understand more about how to get NABARD subsidy on Solar PV Systems: Procedure to get subsidy on Solar PV Systems through NABARD in India

Here is a quick video that can guide you on Rooftop Solar PV buying in India:

Sun shines a light on power

Whether solar power works out economically cheaper or not, the real benefits are to be found in the DIY approach to understanding how you consume power in your home.

The most common questions that I face after we have installed a rooftop solar plant at our apartment are about the government subsidies for green technology or about the savings we make in the bi-monthly electricity bills.
To me, these are redundant and hide the big question that needs to be asked: do you understand electricity better now?
Wait. Let me rephrase that a bit, to make it sound a little less academic:
Am I more aware of how much power I consume in everyday life, the same way a lot of us have become aware about water.
This comparison is apt to the extent that both water and electricity bills take up a huge chunk of our living expenses.
Water is easy to understand. It is tangible and we get to see it stored. We have always rationed it, and wastages are very noticeable.
Electricity, on the other hand, is not tangible to quantify and experience. I think it would be fair to say that, by and large, we have compromised a lot on understanding it. At least, I belong to the generation that depends on an electrician even to change a light bulb.
To me, the biggest takeaway from going solar has been how I have been able to restart my efforts in understanding electricity. That will be my number one reason to go solar.
Let us first address the elephant in the room. No, it is not an economically prudent decision to install rooftop solar at your home — if you are looking at it in terms of “return on investment”. Such fiscal calculations discount the understanding these systems give.
I am a Physics graduate but what I studied in college nearly two decades back was hardly in my memory. So, I quite enjoyed brushing up on some chapters of the ‘Fundamentals of Physics’ by Robert Resnick and David Halliday to just to re-grasp some basics.
There are enough resources online, including videos on YouTube or Wikipedia among others, that can help you get a feel for not just solar power but electricity in general.

Illustration: Mihir Balantrapu
Take a look at this article for example on The website is written for an American audience but has been my go-to website when it comes to DIYs especially (I have become a bit of a coffee snob of late, and keep checking the site for some barista tips, but let us save that for a future post).
Here is the absolute break-down of the essentials of installing a rooftop solar plant. It required setting up an array of photovoltaic cell panels, connecting all the panels to an array junction box, running a DC electrical wiring up to the inverter that was placed in a room, assembling an array of gel batteries to store the power and some substantial civil engineering work.
Although I was aware of the specifications of the components used by our vendor to set up the system, I did not bother myself with the nitty-gritty much.
I was present during the initial site visits that my solar vendor's engineering team made to assess our terrace’s viability to hold a power plant. Having a terrace alone is not a criterion. We needed to know exactly which portions of the terrace did not have a “sun shadow” region and would be ideal for the photovoltaic cells to be placed at.
One of my first learnings was that assessing this space availability was key to determining various important factors, the most important of which was just how big a plant we could put up.
We decided to allocate enough space for an ‘off-grid’ 2-KW plant that would power the lights and fans in a couple of rooms in each of the flats. The decision to go for an ‘off-grid’ plant was made keeping in mind the shared cost of the project by all the apartment-owners. I am unable to go into all the reasoning in this post, but let me just say in an ‘on-grid’ setup, sharing the power load evenly across flats is not feasible. I would still recommend an ‘on-grid’ system whole-heartedly for independent houses.

Solar cells are not necessarily the best option for independent houses, where on-grid systems work better. But for shared electricity, such as in apartment complexes, the off-grid solar cells are a great option. ~ Photo: D. Chakravarty
Once the rooftop plant was installed, the big challenge was to create a scenario where the stored power could be evenly distributed to all the homes in the three-storey apartment complex of ours.
This was where even the smallest of details posed the hardest of challenges. In our case, I can boil that down to a quarter of an inch. The electrician who did the wiring for the apartment apparently decided to save on a few hundreds of rupees by opting for the 3/4-inch pipe, instead of the one-inch pipe, for the concealed wiring.
This became a big headache when we had to run the additional wiring from the inverter/battery room down to the individual apartments to power the rooms we had identified for solar.
There is an important detail to be clarified here. In the case of our apartment, which was constructed as a joint venture between my family and a private builder, the original contract provided for the setting up of a Diesel Generator that would provide power back-up for all the three phases of the entire building in case of a power-cut.
To me, going to the diesel generator back-up ticks all the wrong boxes. I am going to keep the arguments of 'diesel generator vs solar powerplant' out of this post though. But somehow, this option is most preferred by many real estate developers in Chennai. Most apartment builders either run their own franchisee operations in diesel generators or have tied up with other such operators. Why they do not proactively promote solar power is beyond my understanding. The one-shot solution of "fill up on diesel for power-cuts" does not make any sense, be it from an economical or environmental point of view.
Getting back to the challenge at hand: how do we evenly distribute 2KW of solar power to all the homes in a three-storey apartment? We decided to keep the peak production at 1,600 watts and conservatively broke it down to 500 watts per floor. That meant 250 watts per apartment.
So each apartment could have up to three fans and four lights that would run entirely on solar power during the day, when the photo-voltaic cells operate to convert the solar energy into power. These fans and lights would also have battery back-up during non solar-generation hours. That would address the power-cuts we might face during nights.

The Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore became the first cricket venue to go solar earlier this year. The array of 400-KW rooftop solar power panels are designed to produce as much power as 200 All-electric Homes.
Let us not forget that Chennai, like most cities in Tamil Nadu, has had very severe power cuts in recent years, and almost every home has had a tryst with the inverter. We opted for special gel batteries for the solar power, and these came with the promise of longer life. This also led me on a bit of a research on the charge-drain cycles of batteries.
The Bijli Bachao website is a handy online resource on the topic of power savings — solar power in particular. Here is their recently updated article on the cost of photovoltaic cells for solar homes in India. The median costs vary from Rs.30 per watt up to Rs.60 per watt. (We opted for a solar panel that cost nearly Rs.49 per watt.)
Vendors quote anything between Rs.1.2 lakh to Rs.2 lakh per KW for an end-to-end installation plus first-year maintenance of an ‘off-grid’ rooftop solar system. The components whose costs vary dramatically are the photo-voltaic cells and, most critically, the batteries.
We opted for a costly gel-based battery that had a substantially longer ‘charge-drain’ cycle than other batteries and also had a five-year replacement warranty. In the ‘off-grid’ solar system, which runs with a battery back-up, I see no reason to cut corners when it comes to battery costs.
As I kept drilling further into the topic, there were more learnings on how home appliances consume electricity. We could not connect the power lines from the solar plant to “heavy load” devices like high-wattage blenders or ovens. I also found out what the “idle power” was for computers (go ahead, try and Google this for the devices that you put on standby. You would be surprised. This is what I found about my iMac).
Ultimately, everything just boiled down to this. Going solar has helped cut my electricity bills, but it is mainly because I am more aware today. I feel a lot more responsible about using the power we generate in a judicious manner.
The fans we have installed operate at a much lower wattage than most fans of big brands that are available off the shelf. I switch off my Mac when I know that I am not going to be operating for a duration of more than an hour or so.
In order to be truly power-efficient, we picked fans that would operate effectively at much lower power consumption. In fact, I read the power specification labels a lot more closely these days whenever I am out shopping for electrical appliances.
Going forward, whether or not you go solar, this understanding is going to be critical. After all, electricity ain’t gonna get cheaper.

Source -

Monday, October 19, 2015

Cricket stadium in Rajkot to be solar powered

RAJKOT: The Governing body of Saurashtra Cricket Association (SCA) has announced that Saurashtra Cricket Stadium in Rajkot has become the second cricket Stadium in the country to have Installed 50 kWp solar rooftop system. Saurashtra Cricket Association has also plans to put up additional capacity in the near future to pioneer green power generation. 

Saurashtra Cricket Association (SCA) sources said that the plant of 50 kWp installed now is designed to generate 6833 units per month and yearly 82,000 units(Eighty two thousand units) of solar power, and will be used for captive consumption purpose and monthly saving of electricity bill of approximately Rs 54600. 

In terms of saving of carbon emission, it translates to a saving of about 50 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually. German based Solar Company PV Line Pvt Ltd has designed, engineered, supplied and executed the project. The stadium is now eco-friendly. The stadium has utilised the space for helping to protect the environment. 

The solar system shall be officially inaugurated on Sunday before the match between India vs South Africa starts. India and South Africa will play their second ODI at SCA stadium on Sunday.
    Source - Times of India -

    Friday, October 9, 2015

    The President Speaks at the National Clean Energy Summit

    THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you very much.  (Applause.)  Thank you, everybody.  Please, please, have a seat.  We're all about saving energy here.  (Laughter.)  Sit down.  
    Hello, Las Vegas!  (Applause.)  It’s good to be back on the road after spending a little downtime with my family -- recharging my own batteries, so to speak.  And it is great to join you at this clean energy summit to see the work that you’re all doing on what I consider to be one of the most important issues not just of our time, but of any time.  
    I want to thank Mandalay Bay and MGM’s chairman, Jim Murren, for hosting us today.  I want to thank my dear friend, your outstanding Senator, Harry Reid, for holding this summit -(applause) -- and for keeping us focused on this challenge.  I want to thank him, by the way, for his strong statement over the weekend in support of a deal that is going to make sure that Iran does not get a nuclear weapon, which is a top priority of my administration.  (Applause.)  And Harry’s leadership matters.  It sends a message that Congress should support this historic diplomatic breakthrough, and not block it over the objections of most of the world.  It reflects the best of American foreign policy.  We don't rely on bluster or bravado; we focus on strong, principled diplomacy that prevents Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon -- and showing once again to the entire world what American leadership really means.
    Now, we’re here today because we believe that no challenge poses a greater threat to our future than climate change.  It’s something that I’d spoken at length about a few weeks ago; it’s something that I’ll speak about at length next week when I travel throughout Alaska. 
    But we’re also here because we hold another belief, and that is we are deeply optimistic about American ingenuity.  We think we can do good and do well at the same time.  We believe we have the power, the dynamism, the creativity to solve a big problem while keeping the engines of the American economy moving. 
    Six and a half years ago, I took office after decades in which our addiction to fossil fuels and foreign oil perennially threatened our planet and our national security.  And together, we’ve begun to change that -- a lot of people in this room working with us.  Yes, we’ve become the world’s number-one producer of oil and natural gas, but we've also become a major player in clean energy.  And these advances have helped to grow our economy and created a steady stream of well-paying jobs.  They’ve also helped us reduce the dangerous emissions that contribute to climate change.  And we’ve done it in three big ways.
    First of all, we’re wasting less energy.  We’ve set new fuel economy standards on cars and trucks, new efficiency standards on appliances like refrigerators and dishwashers -- and these advances are already saving folks money at the pump; it's saving money on their electricity bills.  And steps like these also mean that factories and businesses aren’t just paying for energy, they’re getting paid not to waste energy.  The economy as a whole is producing a lot more using less energy.  And we’re also using less dirty energy.  
    Earlier this month, I unveiled our Clean Power Plan -- the first set of nationwide standards to end the limitless dumping of carbon pollution from our power plants, the single most important step America has ever taken to combat climate change.  The Clean Power Plan is also going to accelerate the third way that we’re cutting emissions, creating jobs, saving folks money -- and that’s by generating more clean energy.  
    When I took office, I pledged to double our production of wind and solar by the end of my first term.  We met that goal ahead of schedule.  (Applause.)  As Harry just mentioned, six years ago, the Recovery Act marked the single biggest investment in clean energy in our history.  And by the way, what we did was not revolutionary.  We did what the federal government has always done -- we invested in promising new technologies to spur private sector investment and innovation all across the country.  
    Today, there are thousands of renewable energy projects employing tens of thousands of Americans all across the country. Right here in Nevada, for example, renewable energy generation has increased 180 percent since I took office.  Today, America is number one in wind power, generating three times as much wind energy as we did in 2008.  There are now more than 500 wind manufacturers across 43 states supplying the wind industry -- an industry that supports more than 50,000 jobs and supplies enough energy to power 16 million homes.  
    Some states have made even greater strides.  Last year, for example, Iowa generated nearly 30 percent of its electricity from the wind.  And if we keep investing in wind, rather than making shortsighted cuts or chasing mindless austerity, wind could provide as much as 35 percent of America’s electricity and supply renewable power in all 50 states by the year 2050.  (Applause.)  
    As well as we're doing in wind, we're making even more progress on solar.  (Applause.)  I notice you got a lot of sun around here.  (Laughter.)  America generates 20 times as much solar power as we did in 2008 -- 20 times.  Last year was solar’s biggest year ever.  Prices fell by 10 percent; installations climbed by 30 percent.  Every three minutes, another home or business in America goes solar.  Every three weeks, we install as much solar capacity as we did in all of 2008.  And the world’s largest solar installation came online last year, with 9 million solar panels generating enough electricity to power more than 100,000 homes with clean, renewable energy -- not in Germany, not in China, not in Saudi Arabia -- right here in the United States of America. (Applause.)
    In fact, over the past six years, the federal government has approved 34 commercial-scale solar projects and the transmission infrastructure that goes with them on public lands across the West.  We approved one new project just today in California that will ultimately power another 100,000-plus homes.  And right here in Las Vegas, we’ve cut the time it takes to permit solar projects in half.  (Applause.)    
    And one of the reasons we’ve done this is not just because it’s good for the environment and good for the overall economy -- it takes workers to install all this new capacity.  And that’s why, last year, the solar industry added jobs 10 times faster than the rest of the economy.  Solar has helped a lot of construction workers find work while Congress was dragging its feet on funding infrastructure projects.  In fact, the solar industry now employs twice as many Americans as mining coal.  (Applause.)  We’re helping more veterans find work with our Solar Ready Vets Program, with a goal of training 75,000 solar workers who have been veterans by 2020.  That is a goal we can achieve.  (Applause.)  
    So federal investments have helped support all this innovation, and now is not the time to pull back on those investments.  Now is not the time to insist on massive cuts to the investments in R&D that help drive our economy, including the hundreds of millions of dollars in cuts that many Republicans want to take from these successful, job-creating clean energy programs.  It’s thanks in part to these investments that there are already places across the country where clean power from the sun is finally cheaper than conventional power from your utility -- power often generated by burning coal or gas.  (Applause.)    
    And it’s impossible to overstate what this means.  For decades, we’ve been told that it doesn’t make economic sense to switch to renewable energy.  Today, that’s no longer true.  (Applause.)  And you don’t have to take my word for it.  Many of our biggest businesses are backing up that fact.  Walmart has the most installed on-site solar capacity of any company in America. They’re not in the business of giving away money.  (Laughter.)   Google is the largest corporate buyer of renewable energy in the world; companies like Apple and Costco close behind.  They’re not doing this just out of altruism.  They’re doing it because it means big cost savings.  And that can mean big things for local communities.  
    I’ll just give you one example.  Google plans to retrofit the site of a retired coal plant in Alabama into a data hub run entirely on renewable energy.  Recently, they created a new online tool that lets you plug in your address to see if solar power is the smart choice for you.  
    So if you care about climate change, the very fact that companies realize clean energy and energy efficiency are not only cost-effective but cost-saving should give you a big jolt of hope. 
    The point is America is making incredible progress on this issue.  And that’s one of the reasons why I recently committed this country to getting 20 percent of our energy from renewables beyond hydroelectric power by 2030.  (Applause.)  And, by the way, when we do smart things in America, that wakes up the world. So Brazil’s President joined me for that announcement, committed her country to the same goal.  But to meet that goal, we have to triple where we are today.  So I’m here to give you hope, but not complacency.
    The private sector is increasingly all in.  Cities and states are increasingly doing their part.  Just today, 15 cities from Seattle to Chicago to New York are joining 19 cities that have already pledged to reduce emissions and invest in climate resilience.  Leaders in California are aiming to generate 50 percent of their electricity from renewables by 2030 -- 50 percent -- while cutting carbon pollution from oil by 50 percent. (Applause.)  
    And as long as I’m President, the federal government is going to do its part beyond the investments that we’ve already made to promote this issue.  So last month, we announced a new initiative to make it easier for businesses and low-income households to install low-cost solar.  Today, we’re announcing new public- and private- sector commitments that will add new solar capacity on more than 40 military bases.  (Applause.)  And that’s an investment that will create jobs, save taxpayer dollars and reduce emissions.  
    The Department of Energy is announcing a new push to deploy innovative “distributed energy” resources like micro-grids or rooftop solar with battery storage, and will offer loan guarantees for projects like these.  And we’re going to make it even easier for individual homeowners to put solar panels on their roof with no upfront cost.  So specifically, we’re going to take steps to expand the use of a tool we call PACE, which helps you pay for solar panels through the future savings on your energy bills.  (Applause.)  
    So we’re taking steps that allow more Americans to join this revolution with no money down.  You don’t have to share my passion for fighting climate change.  A lot of Americans are going solar and becoming more energy efficient not because they’re tree huggers -- although trees, you know, are important 
    -- (laughter) -- just want you to know -- but because they’re cost-cutters.  They like saving money.  And I’m all for a consumer saving money, because that means they can spend it on other stuff.  Solar isn’t just for the green crowd anymore -- it’s for the green eyeshade crowd, too.  (Laughter.)  
    Now, we’ve still got a lot of work to do and significant obstacles remain.  And obviously, all of you know that very well. For all the promise of solar, it’s still a small share of our economy in energy mix -- less than 1 percent.  Wind makes up almost 5 percent.  But here’s the thing:  Solar made up almost one-third of all new generating capacity last year.  Wind power made up another 20 percent.  So we see the trend lines.  We see where technology is taking us.  We see where consumers want to go.  And that, let’s be honest, has some big fossil fuel interests pretty nervous -- to the point where they’re trying to fight renewable energy.  (Applause.)  
    Now, it’s one thing if you’re consistent in being free market.  It’s another thing when you’re free market until it’s solar that’s working and people want to buy, and suddenly you’re not for it anymore.  (Laughter.)  That’s a problem.  
    There’s a big shift going underway that goes beyond simply putting solar panels on your home.  Yes, the number of homes with rooftop solar has grown from fewer than 20,000 to about 600,000 over the past decade or so.  More than 80 percent of that capacity was added in the past four years.  But the real revolution going on here is that people are beginning to realize they can take more control over their own energy -- what they use, how much, when.
    For decades, our energy system basically worked one way:  Utilities generated power, usually by burning fossil fuels.  They ran lines into the home or business.  We paid for it.  It wasn’t a real exciting business, there wasn’t a lot of innovation.  We didn’t think about it much in our daily lives -- until the energy bill came in the mail.  And the economy grew under that model, at a time when we were less worried about dependence on foreign fuels, and at a time when we were less conscious about the impacts it was having on the environment.
    But in just a few short years, that’s begun to change in a profound way.  Six years ago, smart meters were pretty rare. Today, 60 million consumers have access to detailed information about how much energy we use, how we use it, when we use it.  So we can use that information to change our habits, use energy more efficiently, save more money without a whole lot of sacrifice.  We can control our thermostats from our smartphones.  New appliances and smart devices can tell when energy prices are cheapest, and do laundry, or wash the dishes, or charge our car at those times.  
    We’ve got windows and building materials that can actually generate power.  And we can even tell our utility company that we want our homes powered by renewable energy, or we can call up a contractor and put solar panels on our roof by the weekend -- and that empowers us not only to generate affordable clean energy, but to store it in battery packs, or sell it back to the grid.  
    That’s power.  That’s the future.  That's happening right now.  It’s an American energy revolution that’s like evolving from the telegraph to the smartphone in less than a decade.  It's happening fast.  
    Now, the good news is some utilities recognize this; they see what’s happening.  They’re adapting their business model to seize the opportunities of this emerging energy reality.  We have to lift up some of those success stories and the innovations that are taking place.  
    So San Antonio’s municipal utility is standing up its own rooftop solar program.  Southern Company is partnering with Nest and Tesla on power storage so we can use renewable energy better. Oklahoma Gas and Electric is empowering its customers to enroll in smart metering that uses electricity when it’s cheaper, not when it’s most expensive.
    But while change this fast presents new opportunities, it is invariably going to create resistance from some fossil fuel interests who want to protect the old, outdated status quo.  And there are some legitimate issues around how does a new distributed system work, and folks have some costs and how do we deal with those things, and those are important for us to address.  But when you start seeing massive lobbying efforts backed by fossil fuel interests, or conservative think tanks, or the Koch brothers pushing for new laws to roll back renewable energy standards or prevent new clean energy businesses from succeeding -- that's a problem.  That's not the American way.  That's not progress.  That's not innovation.  That’s rent seeking and trying to protect old ways of doing business and standing in the way of the future.  
    I mean, think about this.  Ordinarily, these are groups that tout themselves as champions of the free market.  If you start talking to them about providing health care for folks who don't have health insurance, they’re going crazy -- “this is socialism, this is going to destroy America.”  But in this situation, they’re trying to undermine competition in the marketplace, and choke off consumer choice, and threaten an industry that’s churning out new jobs at a fast pace.  (Applause.)  And that has the potential to hurt a lot of communities -- and set back America’s leadership in fighting climate change.  They’re even fighting to protect billions of dollars of taxpayer dollars in corporate welfare each year that's going to fossil fuel companies.  
    Now, what’s interesting is that their actions have conjured up some pretty strange bedfellows.  In some states, we got Green Party and Tea Party teaming up to protect our freedom to choose clean energy.  It is rare that the Tea Party leaders and I are on the same side of an issue.  (Laughter.)  I agree with them here. (Applause.)  And just because I agree with them, I don't want them to change their minds now.  (Laughter.)  I promise there are all kinds of other things you can whoop me.  (Laughter.)  
    But this is important, and they are absolutely right on this fight.  This is not, and should not be, a Republican-versus-Democratic issue.  (Applause.)  This should be an issue that can bring everybody together.  (Applause.)  If you're a progressive, you should care about this.  If you're a libertarian, you should care about this.  If you just want to save some money, you should care about it.  And if you care about the future of our children and grandchildren, you should care about it.  (Applause.)
    So here, and across the country, this is about whether big polluters control the system, or whether consumers have freedom to choose cleaner, cheaper, more efficient energy; whether we protect old ways of doing business even when they’re not efficient, or we dream up new business models that bring new technologies into our homes and businesses, and new jobs into our communities.  This is about the past versus the future.  And America believes in the future.    
    And to make that future a reality, we got to have everybody -- utilities, entrepreneurs, workers, businesses, consumers, energy regulators, tree huggers, Tea Partiers -- everybody has got to seize the opportunities before us.  
    There is something big happening in America right now.  For the first time, we can actually see what our clean energy future looks like.  And, yes, the closer we get to this future, the opposition will fight even harder to keep things the way they’ve been.  Folks will get louder in some of the backlash, and they’ll put out press releases suggesting that somehow this is bad for America.  We can't pay attention to that.  Folks whose interests or ideologies run counter to where we need to go, we've got to be able to politely, but firmly say, sorry, we're moving forward.  (Applause.)
    And anybody who suggests that moving to a clean energy economy is going to somehow cripple our economy, or lead to fewer jobs, if they hold up snowballs in February as if that somehow disproves decades of scientific data -- (laughter) -- if they suggest that we've got to set our sights lower and do less or delay action because we can't figure this stuff out -- I just want everybody to remember, we've heard these arguments before.  We have engaged in this debate many times before.  It's taken different forms, but this is an age-old debate in America.  It's a debate between the folks who say, “no, we can't,” and the folks who say, “yes, we can.”  (Applause.)  Between those who fear the future and those who are eager to seize the future.  
    And although sometimes there are some growing pains, America always comes down on the side of the future.  We’ve always been a people who reach -- proudly and boldly and unafraid -- for that more promising future.  We refuse to surrender the hope of a clean energy future to those who fear it and fight it, and sometimes provide misinformation about it.
    Because the naysayers always underestimate what the American people are capable of.  We prove that every day.  All across this country, right now, you’ve got once-dusty plains and rundown buildings that are now solar fields and rooftop arrays.  All across this country, right now, once-shuttered factories are humming, retraining workers to build wind turbines -- technology that we’re not just importing now, now we’re making it here and we’re exporting it -- technology made in America.  (Applause.)  All across this country, once-darkened plants are now full of rehired autoworkers manufacturing some of the world’s most energy-efficient cars -- cars that make you proud to be an American.  (Applause.)  
    This generation of Americans is hammering into place the high-tech foundations of a clean energy age.  It’s the same people who first harnessed the power of the atom, the power of the sun; the same spirit of people who connected the continent by road and by rail, who connected the world through our science and our imaginations; the same people who set foot on the Moon, and put a rover on Mars, and probes the farthest reaches of our solar system.  
    That’s what Americans do.  We can do anything.  And you guys are proving it every single day, and I’m going to be right there beside you.  Congratulations.  (Applause.)    
    God bless you.  God bless this country we love.  Thank you.  (Applause.)