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Pres. Obama Focuses On Renewable Energy, Veterans During Speech

Evan Hall
President Obama addressed a small crowd at Hill Air Force Base on Friday.

President Barack Obama ended his 15-hour long trip to Utah with a private speech at Hill Air Force Base in Ogden. Speaking in front of rows of massive solar arrays, the president addressed a group of about 75 guests and military personnel.

During the seven minute long speech the president lauded the state’s economy and thanked those in uniform for their service. The crux of the speech was the announcement of a new solar energy program that will be launching at Hill Air Force Base.

“I’m announcing a new goal: to train 75,000 workers to enter the solar industry by 2020. As Part of this we’re creating what we’re calling a Solar Ready Vets program that’s modeled after some successful pilot initiatives that have already been established over the last several years,” Obama said. “It’s going to train transitioning military personnel for careers in this growing industry at 10 bases, including right here at Hill.”

Through the program, veterans transitioning back to civilian life would be trained in skills that are marketable in the solar industry.

“Since I took office, solar electricity has gone up 20 fold and our investments in renewable—in energy efficiency—haven’t just helped to cut carbon pollution, they have made us more energy independent, and they’ve helped us create a steady stream of high-wage, good-paying, middle class jobs.”

The president’s whirlwind trip to Utah began Thursday just after 8 p.m. He met with local political leaders including Gov. Gary Herbert and Republican Rep. Rob Bishop to discuss both the issue of public lands and how Utah plans to create an alternative to the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion, following the failure of Healthy Utah during the state’s legislative session.

Obama also met with top officials from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and took part in a roundtable discussion on renewable energy that included Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker and Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch.

The president departed Utah from Hill Air Force Base shortly after his speech.

Speaking with media, Deputy Secretary of the Department of Energy, Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, said the Solar Ready Vets program would begin in Utah in the fall.