President Barack Obama kicked off a two-day energy tour on Wednesday with a stop at the largest photovoltaic — producing voltage from energy sources such as light — solar facility in the United States, Copper Mountain Solar 1.
Speaking only 30 miles from the Las Vegas strip, the President reaffirmed his administration’s commitment to an “all of the above” approach to domestic energy production, and called the solar sector an “industry on the rise.”
In regard to a member of Congress who has previously stated jobs in the renewable energy industry were “phony” and others who joke about solar’s potential; Obama said:
“I mean, think about that mindset, that attitude that says because something is new, it must not be real. If these guys were around when Columbus set sail, they’d be charter members of the Flat Earth Society.”
Sempra U.S. Gas & Power, which owns the solar plant where the President spoke, is building a second facility nearby that’s set to more than triple the output of Copper Mountain 1. Construction of the second facility — Copper Mountain 2 — has created 175 temporary jobs but, according to Sempra’s projections will result in just five full-time positions.
That tiny number will, no doubt, be another fact the anti-renewables lobby will play up.
Regardless of the size, such job creation is good for the economy, Obama said. He also referenced the push to cut funding for green energy that was included in the newly released Republican budget proposal. According to the President, supporters of such a move would effectively be killing jobs.