Obama at GeorgetownCourtesy of Georgetown UniversityPresident Obama today affirmed the place of renewable energy as one of the “five pillars” upon which he plans to build an economic recovery.

In a speech at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., Obama warned Americans to expect more economic pain and a long road to recovery. He then sketched out his pillars for economic growth: new regulation of the financial markets, investments in education to strengthen the workforce, renewable energy, reducing health care costs, and shrinking the federal debt.

Here’s the section on renewable energy and efficiency:

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Now, the third pillar of this new foundation is to harness the renewable energy that can create millions of new jobs and new industries. We all know that the country that harnesses this new energy source will lead the 21st century. Yet we’ve allowed other countries to outpace us on this race to the future.

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I don’t know about you, but I do not accept a future where the jobs and industries of tomorrow take root beyond our borders. I think it’s time for America to lead again. So the investments we made in the Recovery Act will double this nation’s supply of renewable energy in the next three years.

And we are — (applause) — and we are putting Americans to work making our homes and buildings more efficient, so that we can save billions on our energy bills and grow our economy at the same time.

Now, the only way, though, that we can truly spark the transformation that’s needed is through a gradual, market-based cap on carbon pollution, so that clean energy is the profitable kind of energy. (Applause.)

There are those who’ve argued that we shouldn’t attempt, we shouldn’t even be thinking, we shouldn’t even be talking about such a transition until the economy recovers. And they are right that we have to take into account the costs of transition. Transitioning to a clean-energy economy will not be easy. But we can no longer delay putting a framework for a clean-energy economy in place. That needs to be done now. If businesses — (applause) — if businesses and entrepreneurs know today that we are closing this carbon pollution loophole, they’ll start investing in clean energy now. And pretty soon, we’ll see more companies constructing solar panels, and workers building wind turbines and car companies manufacturing fuel-efficient cars. Investors will put some money into a new energy technology, and a small business will open to start selling it. That’s how we can grow this economy, enhance our security and protect our planet at the same time.

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