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President makes case for solar at Mountain View Walmart

Obama says energy efficiency good for economy, good for business

President Barack Obama spoke about energy efficiency at Mountain View's Walmart Friday morning, saying that if solar panels are good enough for cost-conscious Walmart, they are good enough for wide-spread use in the United States.

"Hello, Mountain View!" Obama said to the crowd of Walmart employees, media and government officials as he took the podium at inside the store, where isles had been cleared for the event. He made some humorous remarks about being careful to not forget Mother's Day.

Obama said he decided to visit Mountain View's store because it is unique. "A few years ago, you decided to put solar panels on the roof of the store, you replaced some traditional light bulbs with LEDs, you made refrigerant cases more more efficient, and you even put in charging stations for electric vehicles. And all told those upgrades created dozens of construction jobs and helped this store save money on its energy," the president said. "That's why I'm here today. Because more and more companies like Walmart are realizing that wasting less energy isn't just good for the planet, it's good for business. It's good for the bottom line. And it means jobs."

With protesters gathered outside to call attention to complaints about Walmart's anti-union policies and low wages, Obama noted, "Walmart is pretty good at counting its pennies" while making the case that Walmart's adoption of solar is a sign of the times. Walmart's CEO had announced earlier in the morning the company will save $1 billion a year on energy costs by 2020 by adding 7 kWh of solar to its 850 million square feet of buildings in the U.S., a space equal to half the city of San Francisco, Obama noted.

Obama said Walmart isn't the only company taking such steps.

"Last month I called up leaders from a whole range of industries and today more than 300 organizations, home builders, affordable housing builders, companies like Home Depot and Apple, announced that they are going to expand in the use of solar energy, thereby creating more jobs and cutting carbon pollution," Obama said.

Banks like Connecticut's Green Bank and Goldman Sachs are "ready to invest billions of dollars in renewable energy," he said.

Obama also announced that he is making sure the federal government does its part though energy upgrades to federal facilities. "Today I'm ordering an additional $2 billion dollars in upgrades over the next three years -- these upgrades will create tens of thousands of construction jobs and save taxpayers billions of dollars," Obama said.

Obama made the case that green jobs are now key to the American economy. He noted how Americans wanted a chance to create "an economy that works, not just for a few at the top, but for everybody. The idea that no matter who you are, what you look like, what your last name is, if you work hard, if you take responsibility, you can make it here in America. And that starts with helping businesses create more jobs," he said.

"The biggest factor in bringing jobs back to America has been our commitment to American energy over the last five years," Obama said, later adding that the energy sector "is probably going to have more to do with how our economy succeeds than just about any other."

The president said jobs in the solar panel industry went up 20 percent last year while solar panel prices have dropped 60 percent over the past few years.

"Every four minutes another American home or business goes solar," Obama said. "And every panel is pounded into place by a worker whose job cannot be shipped overseas."

"Climate change is real and we have to act now," said the president. "In Washington, we've got some climate deniers who shout loud, but they are wasting time (arguing) a settled debate."

"Earlier this week we issued a report," Obama said. "It was years in the making, called the 'National Climate Assessment.' Hundreds of scientists, experts, businesses, not-for-profits, local communities all contributed over the course of four years. What they all found, unequivocally, is that climate change is not some far off problem in the future, it's happening now, it's causing hardship now, it's affecting every sector of our economy and our society. More severe floods, more violent wildfires. It's already costing cities and states and families and businesses money. Here in California, you know what's happening, and increasingly more Americans do."

Following his remarks at the store, the president was scheduled to depart from Moffett Field and return to Washington, D.C. He attended two fundraisers for the Democratic National Committee on Thursday evening and spent the night in San Jose.

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sunshine
a resident of Alamo
on May 9, 2014 at 1:47 pm

I am still waiting to know what happened in Bengazi .. all this other stuff means nothing till we get to the bottom of the Bengazi cover up.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by American
a resident of Danville
on May 9, 2014 at 3:08 pm

Surprised he did not stop at Solectron in Fremont!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by cardinal
a resident of Diablo
on May 9, 2014 at 5:24 pm

Solectron was acquired by Flextronics in 2007, when Mr. O'bama was a wee sprite of a Senator. Flextron is headquartered in San Jose, not Fremont.

Try to keep up -- or have you been distracted by that Bucharest thing?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by American
a resident of Danville
on May 9, 2014 at 7:04 pm

Solyandra.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Derek
a resident of Danville
on May 9, 2014 at 7:25 pm

There's a "Bucharest thing?"
I simply have to start reading the Huff-Po more often!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by cardinal
a resident of Diablo
on May 9, 2014 at 8:52 pm

Yeah, well there's a Bucharest thing to about the same extent as there's a Solectron thing (or a Benghazi thing, for that matter).


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Rick
a resident of San Ramon
on May 12, 2014 at 6:49 am

Cardinal is the prez's number one apologist. He enjoys smarmy put downs as you can see above. Benghazi Benghazi Benghazi ----Solyndra Solyndra Solyndra----IRS targeting Americans----fast and furious gun running to Mexico----obama"care" rollout and it's twin obamakill when seniors are denied treatment due to the rulings of an anonymous panel .

Is the first dog still flying on his separate jet along with separate travel for mooshell and the kiddies when they vacation from their $35000 EACH private schools others in DC are not allowed to escape from as vouchers are not allowed for the hordes? Megalomaniac-----vote often in the fall.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by spcwt
a resident of Danville
on May 12, 2014 at 8:27 am

Obama says, "green jobs are now key to the American economy."

What a joke. The "green" economy is too small to make a difference in an economy as large as the United States.

In 2013, solar power accounted for just 0.2% of the U.S. electricity supply, see Table 7.2b. page 96. Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by spcwt
a resident of Danville
on May 12, 2014 at 8:34 am

And this article say Walmart will "save $1 billion a year on energy costs by 2020 by adding 7 kWh of solar to its 850 million square feet of buildings in the U.S., a space equal to half the city of San Francisco."

7kWh? The average American home uses 1,200 kWh per month. I think your numbers are off.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Pelosi
a resident of Alamo
on May 12, 2014 at 11:47 am

Obama is a fool----vote often---vote dems OUT.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by spcwt
a resident of Danville
on May 12, 2014 at 12:51 pm

We're not going to solve climate change with solar panels and other renewable energy.

The world currently used 14 trillion watts (14 terawatts) of power per year. It will use 28 terawatts in 2050.

Simple physics shows that in order to keep CO2 to 450 ppm, 26.5 of those terawatts must be zero-carbon. That's a lot of solar, wind, hydro, biofuels and nuclear.

Are you a fan of nuclear? To get 10 terawatts, less than half of what we need, we'd have to build 10,000 reactors, or one every other day starting now.

Do you like wind? If you use every single breeze that blows on land, you'll get 10 or 15 terawatts. Since it's impossible to capture all the wind, a more realistic number is 3 terawatts, or 1 million state-of-the art turbines, and even that requires storing the energy—something we don't know how to do—for when the wind doesn't blow.

Solar? To get 10 terawatts by 2050, we'd need to cover 1 million roofs with panels every day from now until then.
Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Conservator
a resident of Danville
on May 12, 2014 at 2:22 pm

Dear friend spcwt,

What drives the doubling of projected power consumption on a global basis?

Is the growth projection independent of population or directly proportional to the increasing footprint of all of us? If so, have you perhaps defined the causality of human kind's impact on power consumption, waste generation and possibly climatic conditions? A circular argument regardless.

In fairness the numbers that you've quoted, I think your right. However, to be complete, you've assumed that nuclear implies the use of traditional (ca 1950/60 tech) fissionable municipal reactors. By 2050, there's a darn good chance that we could realize much more energy dense fusion processes (Web Link). Even Ed Teller would be a fan of if this. Of course, there are a few potential downsides to society for another day's discussion...


 +   Like this comment
Posted by spcwt
a resident of Danville
on May 12, 2014 at 3:14 pm

According to the UN, increased power consumption will result from a combination of factors, including: higher population, rising incomes in China, India and the developing world, and poor people starting to use electricity instead of "traditional" energy (fire pits, unventilated stoves) which are currently not included in official energy statistics. See UN World Energy Assessment, p.4 Web Link

Bill Gates said wind and solar power is "cute" but it's not going to solve our energy & climate problems. Web Link

People in rich countries can spend money on expensive solar energy systems, Tesla cars, etc., but the world's poor can't afford such luxuries.

California could switch every single home to solar, get rid of every car, truck, power plant, etc., and it would only reduce global CO2 emissions by 2%.

People say, what's the harm if we adopt green policies and fail? Haven't we at least tried to make a better world? No, you haven't. You've made the world poorer and less able to pay for the damage done by climate change. Green policies retard economic growth.

For example, California's Global Warming Solution's Act (AB 32) will cause California to have 262,000 fewer jobs by 2020 and cause California's economy to contract by 5.6%. It forces companies to purchase carbon permits, acting basically like a $35.3 billion a year tax, which by 2020 will cost the average California family $2,500 per year in increased costs for gasoline, electricity, cement, and other carbon-intensive products. Web Link

Bottom line, green policies cost money, won't work, and make things worse.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Conservator
a resident of Danville
on May 12, 2014 at 4:05 pm

Dear Spcwt,

So this is better (Web Link)?

By your expressed logic, perhaps the best course of action would be to strip emissions controls, return to leaded gas and save on capital expenditures for municipal landfills by going back to just burning our garbage in the back yard?

Or, would you say we have it just about right for the next 100 years or so?

BTW, aren't you a fan of fusion? Can you imagine the revenue generation for however figures that one out?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by spcwt
a resident of Danville
on May 12, 2014 at 4:35 pm

You ask if we should "go back" to the bad old days of air pollution. But we never left. We just pushed our dirty industries over to China, India and elsewhere. The world is burning more coal now than ever. And world coal use will grow exponentially through 2050 no matter how many solar panels are installed on Walmarts.

Yes, I am a fan of fusion. I'm also a fan of flying cars. When they invent either one of those, please let me know.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Conservator
a resident of Danville
on May 12, 2014 at 11:00 pm

Spcwt,

Hmmm….invented!

Moller International (long-time Davis engineering firm) M400 Skycar: Web Link

USAF prototype AVRO VZ-9 Avrocar (1958): Web Link AND Web Link

This one you can even buy - Terrafugia Transition and TF-X: Web Link

I do agree we need to do something about where we have pushed our dirty industries. Maybe we should bring them back to our shores. At least we'd get some new albeit dirty jobs back. Surely you wouldn't mind that in your backyard and mine?




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