Obama Lays Out Clean Energy Agenda at MIT

President urges the country to draw on its traditions of innovation and adventure to transform its energy system and address climate concerns

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Boasting today, Oct. 23, that the stimulus bill represents (among other things) the biggest boost to science research in history, Obama hailed (as a case in point) the beginning of construction on a wind technology test center in the Boston area. That facility is getting $25 million in funding from the recovery act, as well as support from Massachusetts.

Obama said that the whole world is engaged in a peaceful competition to devise ample clean energy to power the 21st century, and that the winner of that race will lead the global economy. He said he wants America to win that race.

For the record, the New York Times reported on Saturday, Oct. 24, that Obama attributed the historic boost in science funding to the administration's climate bill, which a Senate committee will start to work on next week. That is an error. Obama did also plug the climate bill, saying that climate change skeptics and vested interests opposing climate action are now "marginalized." But that was in a different part of the speech.

Listen to his speech at the Massachusetts of Technology and, if you haven't already, check out what he had to say about climate science and green energy technology shortly after his election.

The Conversation (0)
This photograph shows a car with the words “We Drive Solar” on the door, connected to a charging station. A windmill can be seen in the background.

The Dutch city of Utrecht is embracing vehicle-to-grid technology, an example of which is shown here—an EV connected to a bidirectional charger. The historic Rijn en Zon windmill provides a fitting background for this scene.

We Drive Solar

Hundreds of charging stations for electric vehicles dot Utrecht’s urban landscape in the Netherlands like little electric mushrooms. Unlike those you may have grown accustomed to seeing, many of these stations don’t just charge electric cars—they can also send power from vehicle batteries to the local utility grid for use by homes and businesses.

Debates over the feasibility and value of such vehicle-to-grid technology go back decades. Those arguments are not yet settled. But big automakers like Volkswagen, Nissan, and Hyundai have moved to produce the kinds of cars that can use such bidirectional chargers—alongside similar vehicle-to-home technology, whereby your car can power your house, say, during a blackout, as promoted by Ford with its new F-150 Lightning. Given the rapid uptake of electric vehicles, many people are thinking hard about how to make the best use of all that rolling battery power.

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