Last October, Secretary of Energy Dr. Steven Chu promised that by the end of this spring, the White House would have solar panels on its rooftop as well as a solar water heater installed. Would it surprise you to learn that this has not happened yet?
Ramamoorthy Ramesh, director of the SunShot Initiative and Solar Energy Technologies Program at the Department of Energy sums up the situation as follows: "The Energy Department remains on the path to complete the White House solar demonstration project, in keeping with our commitment, and we look forward to sharing more information-- including additional details on the timing of this project--after the competitive procurement process is completed."
Does that make you feel better?
Yes, it's true that the Obama administration has many pressing issues at hand; however, sometimes the simplest measures can mean the most. This standard boilerplate response is actually symbolic of an administration that is often tone-deaf to some of the easiest tasks.
There have been nagging questions from both the left and the right about the Obama White House and what it stands for, but this one small issue is a politically neutral one. Solar manufacturing and installation is part of one of President Obama's keystones: that is, creating a green economy and green jobs, which has been well covered through the past two and a half years of his tenure. So how can something as simple as this installation be incomplete?
Solar panels graced the roof of 1600 Pennsylvania during President Carter's term. It was a small gesture with big meaning during the oil shock of the late 1970s. The panels were dismantled once President Reagan took office, but they need to be replaced as symbolic of the fact we need to wean ourselves off foreign sources of oil, and fossil fuels for that matter.
President Obama has a tremendous amount on his plate, but this was a real no-brainer. If you're going to step out on the ledge and proclaim that green jobs and alternative sources of energy are a major part of our future, then the least you can do is deliver on the simplest of promises.
Jonathan A. Schein is founder/CEO, ScheinMedia, publisher of GreenRealEstateDaily.com