WASHINGTON (Kyodo) — U.S. President Barack Obama rallied for clean energy Tuesday from Arcadia, Florida., where he hailed the launch of the largest solar plant in the United States and championed his administration's investments to promote energy innovation.
"There is something big happening in America when it comes to creating a clean energy economy," Obama said, adding that $3.4 billion of the $787 billion economic stimulus package has now been allocated for grants to promote smart energy grid technologies across the nation.
The investment reasserted Obama's claim that a rebound in the economy will partly depend on the U.S. approach to clean energy.
Obama added that while the U.S. House of Representatives has passed clean energy legislation, the Senate is "on the way," as a relevant committee is holding its first hearings on the issue Tuesday. As he stood in front of the field of solar panels in Arcadia, Obama reported that the plant will save 575,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions over the next 30 years -- the equivalent, he said, of removing more than 4,500 cars from the road each year.
While some Republican opponents have been skeptical of Obama's clean energy agenda and the money he has invested to enact it, Obama made a bipartisan comparison in applauding former Republican President Dwight Eisenhower's forward-thinking achievements in interstate highway construction.
He also attempted to rally Americans by emphasizing the U.S. spirit of innovation.
"This is the nation, after all, that harnessed electricity and the energy contained in an atom; that developed the steamboat and the modern solar cell; that connected a continent with a massive system of highways and railroads," he said.