President Obama switched gears in energy policy as pronounced during Tuesday night’s State of the Union address. Instead of talk about reviving failed cap-and-trade legislation, the President expressed his support for a new, bi-partisan energy scheme: so-called Clean Energy standards (CES).

In the President’s own words:

…instead of subsidizing yesterday’s energy, let’s invest in tomorrow’s.

Now, clean energy breakthroughs will only translate into clean energy jobs if businesses know there will be a market for what they’re selling.  So tonight, I challenge you to join me in setting a new goal:  By 2035, 80 percent of America’s electricity will come from clean energy sources. (Applause.)

Some folks want wind and solar.  Others want nuclear, clean coal and natural gas.  To meet this goal, we will need them all — and I urge Democrats and Republicans to work together to make it happen. (Applause.)

Notice the President’s choice of words in the first sentence. Why didn’t he say …instead of subsidizing yesterday’s energy, let’s subsidize  tomorrow’s? Could it be that the American people have grown tired of hearing about subsidies for oil-substitutes? Especially after the ethanol hoax, whose subsidies were, by the way, extended in the tax-cut extensions passed late last year?

CES are hailed as a bi-partisan effort, because, unlike renewable energy schemes which require electric utilities to use a specified percentage of high-cost green” energy sources only, clean energy standards allow a larger variety of energy sources to count towards fulfilling the standard, some of which are Republican favorites. 

While no major piece of legislation on this energy policy proposal is yet out in Congress, prospective sponsors of such a bill may include all, or some, of the following energy sources in the mix: solar, wind, geothermal, nuclear, coal with carbon capture and sequestration, and natural gas. Some states have gotten even more creative with their state’s clean energy standards, including such controversial sources as energy gained from burning tires. Sounds very clean, doesn’t it?

If clean energy standards take off to become the new bi-partisan energy policy proposal, it will be because Republicans and Democrats will have come to the conclusion that if everyone gets to subsidize their best energy friends, everyone wins! Except taxpayers, who will not only bear the burden of financing government spending in the form of energy subsidies, but who will also be faced with much higher energy costs. (Applause?)