"There is a lot of low-hanging fruit in the renewable industry, be it through weatherizing, putting incentives out there for renewable energy to relocate to Louisiana, trying to leverage some of the more immediate resources that are available to promote the renewables industry."
To see how the oil spill has shifted the conversation around renewables, though, one need look no further than President Obama. On March 31, standing in front of a fighter jet at Andrews Air Force Base, the president declared:
"Given our energy needs, in order to sustain economic growth and produce jobs, and keep our businesses competitive, we are going to need to harness traditional sources of fuel even as we ramp up production of new sources of renewable, homegrown energy."
It was on that day that President Obama and the Department of the Interior announced a massive expansion to offshore drilling exploration. But the president has since blocked any new undersea oil exploration for the next six months at least, and he has repeatedly stated the need for Congress to pass clean energy and climate legislation this year.
Indeed, on May 27, after many weeks of catastrophe in the Gulf and many millions of gallons of leaked oil, the president said:
"More than anything else, this economic and environmental tragedy – and it's a tragedy – underscores the urgent need for this nation to develop clean, renewable sources of energy. Doing so will not only reduce threats to our environment, it will create a new, homegrown, American industry that can lead to countless new businesses and new jobs."
The issue of whether Congress — and other states — actually act on energy legislation that will reward large-scale investments in carbon reduction, however, will unfold in the next weeks and months.