Obama promotes energy ideas at Penn State


STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) — President Barack Obama, turning briefly to his eclipsed domestic agenda Thursday, called on the nation’s businesses to make fresh investments in clean energy technology that lay a foundation for long-term American prosperity.

He proposed a new tax credit and other measures to encourage businesses to retrofit their plants and reduce costs — steps that he said would save $40 billion a year in utility bills.

“Making our buildings more energy efficient is one of the fastest, easiest and cheapest ways to save money, combat pollution and create jobs,” the president said, taking his retooled economic pitch to the heart of Pennsylvania, a prominent state in presidential politics that will be a key in his 2012 re-election bid.

Obama toured energy research labs at Penn State ahead of his remarks, showcasing a leader in the field of energy technology. The university heads a consortium of universities, colleges and industries that are developing a high-tech research hub, based in Philadelphia, on how to make buildings more energy-efficient. That center is supported by $129 million in federal money over the next five years.

“In America innovation isn’t just how we change our lives, it’s how we make a living,” he said, pushing a key feature of an economic agenda that blends his goals of greater energy independence with a long-term job growth strategy.

The energy efficiency plan is an extension of Obama’s call last year to give government rebates for home retrofitting, a proposal that has stalled in the Senate.