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Obama's energy plan heavy on clean tech

Sen. Barack Obama's energy plan has a hefty dose of clean tech, with calls for renewable energy, energy efficiency, carbon regulation and plug-in hybrid manufacturing.

While many headlines from Sen. Barack Obama's speech on energy policy on Monday focused on tapping the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, a look at the details shows a significant pledge to clean technologies.

The presumed Democratic nominee for president delivered a speech in Lansing, Mich.--an area hit from the declining auto industry--to unveil his New Energy for America plan.

Overall, it calls for investing $150 billion over 10 years to create new clean-energy jobs and to cut U.S. dependence on imported oil from the Middle East and Venezuela.

Short-term measures are geared at lowering gasoline prices by tapping the petroleum reserves. They also include a tax rebate.

The medium and long-term plan calls for policies to promote renewable energy, clean-tech jobs, and energy efficiency. Specifically, the plan's goals are:

  • Putting 1 million U.S.-built plug-in hybrid cars on the road by 2015 through loan guarantees for retooling automakers and a $7,000 consumer tax credit.

  • A mandate that 10 percent of electricity come from renewable sources by 2012 and 25 percent by 2025.

  • Cap and trade-based climate regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent from 1990 levels by 2050. A portion of the proceeds from auctions would go toward next-generation biofuels.

For many clean-tech entrepreneurs and investors, these are the sorts of policies they are seeking. A recent poll by Earth2Tech found that a great majority of clean-tech venture capitalists favor Obama over McCain.

His rival, presumed Republican nominee Sen. John McCain, also supports alternative energies and plug-in vehicles but political coverage of his energy policies focuses on his support for expanded oil drilling and nuclear power.

For more details on the comparison between McCain and Obama's plans, see this Bloomberg article and this CNN article.