44, the Obama Presidency:

At Nellis Air Force Base near Las Vegas, President Obama pointed to a solar energy system as a model for the nation.
At Nellis Air Force Base near Las Vegas, President Obama pointed to a solar energy system as a model for the nation. (By Charles Dharapak -- Associated Press)
Thursday, May 28, 2009


President Lauds Energy Progress

President Obama touted his plans for clean energy and economic stimulus Wednesday at an Air Force base near Las Vegas, pointing to the base's vast array of solar panels as a model for the nation as it seeks to reduce its dependence on foreign oil.

Obama, visiting Nellis Air Force Base between fundraising events in Las Vegas and Los Angeles, toured the largest solar power plant of its kind in the Western Hemisphere, a collection of more than 72,000 panels built on 140 acres, including part of an old landfill. The plant, a public-private venture that cost $100 million, generates about a quarter of the electricity used on the base, where 12,000 people live and work.

The president said the project created 200 jobs and will save the Air Force nearly $1 million a year while reducing carbon pollution by 24,000 tons a year -- the equivalent of removing 4,000 cars from U.S. roads.

He also announced stimulus funding for two renewable-energy projects.

"The first is a solar energy technologies program that will help replicate the success of the Nellis project in cities and states across America," Obama said.

The second program, he said, will help develop geothermal energy across the country, building on the technology's success in Nevada.

Obama also applauded the results so far of his $787 billion stimulus package, which includes about $476 million for expanding and accelerating the development of solar and geothermal energy.

Citing an administration report released Wednesday that details stimulus spending and its effects across the country, he said the package has already saved or created nearly 150,000 jobs.

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael S. Steele disputed Obama's progress report, which he dismissed as a public relations gambit.

"One hundred days after spending $787 billion of the taxpayers' money, President Obama is touting a second progress 'report' on the stimulus bill to convince voters his reckless spending plan is working," Steele said in a statement. "Let's be clear: 100 projects, nearly $1 trillion spent and 1 million jobs lost doesn't sound like progress to me."

-- William Branigin

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