President Obama will deliver his 2014 State of the Union address on January 28, at 9 PM (Eastern). His audience -- Congress, as well as millions of people in the United States and elsewhere -- will listen closely for indications of the President's upcoming policy initiatives. In past years, issues related to energy and climate change have featured prominently in these addresses. What energy- and climate-related issues will he address in his fifth State of the Union remarks?
Likely themes include:
Natural gas. The production of natural gas from unconventional resources such as shale plays has revolutionized the U.S. energy economy. Compared to other fossil fuels, natural gas is widely considered to be more environmentally benign. Readily dispatchable natural gas-fired power plants can be a powerful complement to renewable resources, balancing out variations in power production from intermittent resources like wind. At the same time, the low cost of producing natural gas domestically is driving interest in exporting gas through pipelines and liquefied natural gas or LNG export terminals.
Oil. As with natural gas, unconventional oil resources have similarly revolutionized the U.S. energy economy. In recent years, the U.S. has become a net exporter of oil, gasoline, and other petroleum fuels. Meanwhile, the proposed Keystone XL pipeline would increase shipments of Canadian oil to U.S. refineries, but the project relies on federal approvals that remain pending.
Energy efficiency. President Obama has supported increases in energy efficiency in homes, industry, and transportation. In his 2013 State of the Union, he proposed to cut in half the energy wasted by our homes and businesses over the next twenty years. Energy efficiency continues to be a popular theme.
The 2014 State of the Union will be streamed at http://WhiteHouse.gov/SOTU.