Biden: Solar power will close the gap on Obama’s renewables goal

Biden: Solar power will close the gap on Obama’s renewables goal
© Getty Images

Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenSanders keeping door open on 2020 Biden deflects questions about 2020 run at OZY Fest The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE told a solar power conference Wednesday that the industry will be instrumental in helping reach President Obama’s renewable energy goals. 

Biden said the industry, which has seen surging growth during the Obama years but remains a small source of American electricity, is positioned to expand even further ahead of the administration’s deadline for doubling renewable energy production. 

ADVERTISEMENT
“Our efforts to lead the world depend on not the example of our power but the power of our example,” Biden said. “We have to set the example. The president set the goal to double renewable generation by 2020. I, quite frankly, think we’ll exceed that.”

The speech came the same day the Obama administration announced a new $120 million plan to increase solar power and other sources of clean electricity. Part of that effort is a program to study ways to reduce the cost of solar power installations, something Biden highlighted during his speech.

Biden, who is considering a presidential bid, is in California talking with the solar industry and speaking to a meeting of climate officials from the U.S. and China later Wednesday. 

He used his afternoon speech to plug Obama’s climate plan and called on Congress to do more to implement it. He suggested ending tax breaks for oil companies and using them instead to bolster the solar and wind industries, and he challenged Republicans to get on board with the proposals. 

Biden also said policy-makers have a “moral imperative” to help workers in fossil fuel industries who might be hit by a transition to cleaner energy. 

“Change generates winners and losers,” he said. “There are a lot of really hard-working, decent coal miners, who are looking out and not only seeing their income maybe changing, but seeing their cultural way of life. It’s a way of life, and they’re worried.” 

But, Biden said later, “that is not a reason to continue a policy that is so damaging to our environment.”