Following is an excerpt dealing with energy:
Keeping America competitive requires affordable energy. And here we have a serious problem: America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world. The best way to break this addiction is through technology. Since 2001, we have spent nearly $10 billion to develop cleaner, cheaper, and more reliable alternative energy sources -- and we are on the threshold of incredible advances.
So tonight, I announce the Advanced Energy Initiative -- a 22-percent increase in clean-energy research -- at the Department of Energy, to push for breakthroughs in two vital areas. To change how we power our homes and offices, we will invest more in zero-emission coal-fired plants, revolutionary solar and wind technologies, and clean, safe nuclear energy. (Applause.)
We must also change how we power our automobiles. We will increase our research in better batteries for hybrid and electric cars, and in pollution-free cars that run on hydrogen. We'll also fund additional research in cutting-edge methods of producing ethanol, not just from corn, but from wood chips and stalks, or switch grass. Our goal is to make this new kind of ethanol practical and competitive within six years.
While I strongly support the increase in clean-energy research I was struck by the lack of emphasis on resolution of the political problem of nuclear waste storage. Production of hydrogen (to my knowledge) uses quite a bit of energy that might best be generated by nuclear plants (hopefully pebble beds) and if one accepts the 'inherently safe' designation of pebble bed reactors then the remaining problem is political rather than scientific in nature. Increasing research funding does not educate the general population on the factors and arguments in support of building additional nuclear facilities. I don't see how the country can get past the green luddite fear line without the government making as great an effort in educating the public as it is willing to make in research.