SUSIE GHARIB, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR: Well, it was talk, not a deal to tap into emergency oil reserves. So says the White House. The Obama administration denied reports that it had
reached an agreement with Britain to join forces, tapping into government-
controlled strategic petroleum reserves. The talk triggered a drop in oil prices. In New York trading, they tumbled almost $2 to the $104-a-barrel level, but then recovered by the end
of the day, closing at $105. But President Obama today addressed worries
about high oil and gasoline prices. Speaking in Maryland, he laid out his plans for alternative energy. Sylvia Hall reports.
SYLVIA HALL, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: President Obama
wants to change the way America powers up.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So we can’t have an energy strategy for the last century that traps us in the past; we need an energy strategy for the future, an all-of-
the above strategy for the 21st Century that develops every source of
HALL: As it turns out, between wind, solar, and other resources, the
country has its pick of ways to generate energy. The Department of Energy
says renewables make up around 10 percent of electricity production, and by
2035, their market share is expected to grow to 16 percent. But which ones are most promising? Last year, solar panel installation doubled, and wind energy production increased by 27 percent.
Both depend heavily on government subsidies, and in a time of tight
budgets, that support could dim.
PAUL BLEDSOE, SENIOR ADVISER, BIPARTISAN POLICY CENTER: Every energy
source has enjoyed subsidies in its development period. That was true of
coal, true of oil, true of nuclear, and its now true of renewable energy.
The question is, how quickly can you phase out that subsidy?
HALL: While the cost of solar and wind energy has been dropping
steadily, they can’t compete with plummeting natural gas prices.
SEVERIN BORENSTEIN, CO-DIRECTOR, ENERGY INSTITUTE, HASS SCHOOL OF
BUSINESS, U.C. BERKELEY: So, while they have — the renewables have gotten
somewhat more cost-effective, the bar that they’re trying to chase has also
gotten a lot harder to reach.
HALL: Over the long term, experts say its imperative that renewables
take a much bigger place in the energy market. But to do so will take a
lot more investment and a lot more research. Sylvia Hall, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, Washington.