Obama pushing for more clean energy choices for consumers

Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Malia Obama, Sasha Obama
From left, President Barack Obama with daughter Malia and first lady Michelle Obama with daughter Sasha, walk form Marine One across the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Sunday, Aug. 23, 2015, as they return form a family vacation on Martha’s Vineyard. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Pushing back against fossil fuel interests, President Barack Obama is pressing to give ordinary Americans more power to choose what kind of power they use.

The president, in a speech at a clean energy conference in Las Vegas on Monday, planned to announce new executive actions and other efforts aimed at making it easier for homeowners and businesses to invest in green energy improvements that in the past may have been impractical or unaffordable.

The moves are designed to build on the clean power plant rules that the president announced earlier in the month to cut carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants by a third.

Obama’s goal is to cut overall U.S. emissions by 26 percent to 28 percent over the next decade to combat climate change and encourage other countries to do likewise.

Obama’s speech, at an annual energy conference hosted by Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid, was aimed at countering fossil fuel and utility interests that have been working at the state level and elsewhere to undercut clean energy policies with arguments that the matter should be left to the free market.

The Heartland Institute, a conservative think tank that denies man-made climate change, was among groups co-sponsoring a simultaneous “affordable energy summit” in Las Vegas as a counterpoint to Reid’s gathering. It maintains that Obama’s policies promote wind and solar power at the expense of conventional energy and “will inevitably cause skyrocketing electricity prices while providing little if any net environmental benefits,” according to the summit’s website.

Among the steps being announced by Obama is making $1 billion in additional loan guarantees available from the Department of Energy to encourage innovation in technologies that give Americans more flexibility in choosing renewable energy options.

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