Campaign Promises

Cabinet/Departments -> Energy -> Energy - General

Energy - GeneralGrade
The Promise: "I will report to the American people every year on the State of our Energy Future..."
When/Where: Campaign Speech, Portsmouth, NH, dated 10/08/07.
Status:To one extent or another, President Obama addressed the nation's energy status during his annual "State of the Union" reports to Congress. But this promise was to deliver an annual "State of our Energy Future" report to the American people.

CY2010: President Obama had until 01/20/10 (one year after his first term inauguration) to initially honor this promise. He didn't do so.

CY2011: On 03/30/11, he delivered a speech at Georgetown University entitled "A Secure Energy Future." This non-national speech was delivered in conjunction with the Department of Energy's release of its "Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future."

CY2012: On 02/23/12, he delivered a major address at the University of Miami focused on energy.

CY2013: A national address, entitled "Taking Control of Our Energy Future," was delivered by the President in his weekly address to the nation on 03/03/13.

CY2014: On 05/09/14, President Obama delivered remarks on "American Energy" at a Walmart in Mountain View, CA.

CY2015: On 08/25/15, President Obama was a principal speaker at the National Clean Energy Summit held in Las Vegas, NV.

CY2016: Weekly address of 02/06/16 entitled "Doubling Our Clean Energy Funding to Address the Challenge of Climate Change" as well as the weekly address of 08/13/16 entitled "Providing a Better, Cleaner, Safer Future for Our Children."

This promise was not fulfilled.
The Promise: "...will swap oil from the Strategic Petroleum help bring down prices at the pump."
When/Where: Obama and Biden's Plan for America: "Blueprint for Change," dated 10/09/08.
Status:When this promise was made in 10/08, gasoline cost an average of $3.80 per gallon, having peaked in 07/08 at around $4.10 per gallon. The ensuing months to President Obama's inauguration saw national average prices per gallon of regular gasoline decline to around $1.90 per gallon.

By 05/09/11, the national average cost of regular gasoline had climbed to $3.97 per gallon. In response on 06/23/11, the Obama Administration released 30M barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to help Americans during their CY2011 summer vacation travels.

As of 12/31/16, the national average cost of one gallon of regular gasoline was $2.33. In the Contiguous United States (CONUS), California had the highest average cost per gallon at $2.75 whereas South Carolina enjoyed the lowest at $2.08 for regular gasoline. Hawaii and Alaska gasoline prices are usually higher than the CONUS average with $3.00 and $2.64 respectively per gallon of regular gasoline as of 12/31/16. Source:

This promise to tap into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve when needed was fulfilled.
The Promise: "...will launch a Clean Technologies Venture Capital Fund that will provide $10 billion a year for five years to get the most promising clean energy technologies off the ground."
When/Where: Campaign Speech, Portsmouth, NH, dated 10/08/07.
Status:The promised "Clean Technologies Venture Capital Fund" had not been created as of end-CY2016.

Loan guarantees for clean technologies initiatives were included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, but do not satisfy the exact specifications stated in this promise.

This promise was not fulfilled.
The Promise: "...will invest federal resources, including tax incentives, cash prizes and government contracts into developing the most promising technologies with the goal of getting the first two billion gallons of cellulosic ethanol into the system by 2013."
When/Where: Obama Plan: "Make America a Global Energy Leader," dated 10/07/07.
Status:Cellulosic ethanol is made from corn stalks, wood chips and other biomass such as grass clippings, and not food such as corn.

Cellulosic ethanol production didn't begin in earnest until CY2012. Financing was the biggest impediment to progress in building the needed cellulosic ethanol production plants on an industrial/national scale. Banks considered financing the first of these plants too risky.

POET LLC, a company that already produced over 1.7B gallons of ethanol, for example, planned to open a 25M gallon cellulosic plant based on corn husks and corncobs. To help this project, dubbed "Project Liberty," the Obama Administration offered a conditional commitment of $105M to POET on 07/12/11 to develop the new plant to be located at Emmetsburg, IA. The State of Iowa kicked in $20M worth of financial incentives. The POET plant became operational in CY2014 with an annual cellulosic ethanol production capacity of 25M gallons.

The Renewable Fuels Reinvestment Act of 2010 (H.R. 4940), introduced by Congressman Earl Pomeroy (D-ND) on 03/25/10, would have extended the $1.01 per gallon tax credit for cellulosic ethanol producers beyond 12/31/10. This bill was referred to the Subcommittee on Trade and no further action was taken when the 111th Congress expired at the end of CY2010. No similar bill was introduced during the 112th, 113th or 114th Congress.

This promise was not fulfilled.
The Promise: "...will provide $4 billion retooling tax credits and loan guarantees for domestic auto plants and parts manufacturers, so that the new fuel-efficient cars can be built in the U.S. by American workers rather than overseas."
When/Where: Obama-Biden Plan: "New Energy for America" dated 09/06/08.
Status:During CY2009 and CY2010, retooling tax credits were provided to the auto industry at the city and state levels.

As to loans for retooling, the Department of Energy (DOE) has been effective in providing loans to the auto industry such as the $1.4B loan to Nissan in 01/10 to retool a Smyrna, TN plant where it will build its electric LEAF sedan and batteries for that vehicle. Six months prior, Nissan had won a conditional $1.6B loan guarantee under the DOE's Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) program. In addition, the DOE also provided $5.9B to the Ford Motor Company, as part of its conditional loan program, to upgrade Ford's factories to produce more fuel efficient automobiles.

This promise was fulfilled.
The Promise: "...will...invest $150 billion over ten years to deploy clean technologies..."
When/Where: Obama-Biden Plan for America entitled: "Blueprint for Change" dated 10/09/08.
Status:The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 included over $90B for energy efficiency and renewable energy, in essence "green jobs" creation.

The breakout of this $90B of ARRA funding was roughly $29B for energy efficiency, $21B for renewable generation, $18B for traditional and high speed rail, $10B for grid modernization, $6B for advanced batteries, advanced vehicles and fuels technologies, $3B for carbon capture and sequestration technologies, $3B for green innovation and job training, and $2B for clean energy equipment manufacturing tax credits.

For FY2012 alone, the President's budget request included:
- $5.4B for the Office of Science, including $2.0B for basic energy sciences to discover new ways to produce, store, and use energy.
- $457M for a program to reduce the cost of solar power and other solar energy research and development (R&D);
- $550M for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to support the development of new energy technologies;
- $102M investment in geothermal energy;
- $341M for biofuels and biomass R&D;
- $95M for wind energy research;
- $853M for nuclear energy to include research into the development of modular nuclear reactors; and
- $453M for a fossil energy R&D portfolio focused on carbon capture and storage technologies.
The total of the above is roughly $8.3B.

When looking at the $90B funding under the ARRA in CY2009, and assuming that at least $6B in funding over over the ensuing nine years for Departments of Energy, Agriculture, Interior and EPA clean technology initiatives, it is conceivable that the investment goal of "$150 billion over ten years" would either be met or come close to being met by CY2019.

Tangible progress has been made in the fulfillment of this promise.