Clean energy has represented a major focus of Barack Obama’s presidency. And although he’s unlikely to drop that commitment, he is likely to become less demonstrative about it in the wake of the Solyndra scandal, The Hill
You probably won’t see Obama touring clean energy factory floors again soon. “This is a growing industry, and it will continue to grow without the president visiting factories,” Jonathan Rothwell, a senior research analyst at the Brookings Institution, told the news service.
“At this point . . . it seems to have politicized an issue that should, if anything, be a bipartisan commitment,” Rothwell said of Obama’s visits. “It almost obligates Republicans to speak out against green jobs and green policies.”
The White House said it’s not backing off clean energy. “The president is absolutely committed to the idea that the United States must compete in the cutting-edge technologies of the 21st century,” White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters Thursday.
But congressional Republicans indicate they’re ready to take on Obama over clean energy investment. The Democratic Congress of 2009 passed aid for clean energy as part of the fiscal stimulus package.
“Can you imagine the Congress voting on anything generous for the solar industry right now? I don’t think so,” said Paula Mints, a solar industry analyst at Navigant Consulting.
M.J. Shiao, a solar market analyst at GTM Research , said, “The Solyndra bankruptcy has definitely given the Obama administration and the solar industry a black eye, there’s no denying that.”
Many Republicans oppose the idea of government loan guarantees for clean energy companies. “Should we be in the business of facilitating something that should be in the purview of the private sector? And if we’re picking winners and losers, then we’re going to make mistakes,” Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas, told The Hill.
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