During a speech Wednesday, President Obama called for the development of alternative energy, labeling oil as "the fuel of the past."

Barack Obama speaks to an audience in Mount Holly, North Carolina (Source: John W Adkisson/Getty Images)“We’ve got to develop every source of American energy — not just oil and gas, but wind power and solar power, nuclear power, biofuels,” Obama said.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu will defend before the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power to defend the president's $27.2 billion budget request for the fiscal year of 2013, a 3.2 percent increase over 2012's budget. The request includes $770 million for nuclear energy projects, including $65 million for cost-shared awards to support SMRs and $60 million for nuclear waste research and development. The plan also stipulates $5 billion in funding for clean energy R&D. 

The Savannah River Site has been specifically named as a potential site for these development programs, as well as a place where the SMRs can be manufactured. Last week, the site announced agreements with SMR developers Hyperion Power Generation, Holtec International and NuScale Power.

“If we can develop this technology and build these reactors with American workers, we will have a key competitive edge in the global clean energy race,” Chu said.

On Wednesday, the energy secretary also visited the under-construction Vogtle plant in Georgia.

“The choice for our country is clear: We can make these technologies today or import them tomorrow,” Chu said to work­ers and guests after a tour of the construction site of units 3 and 4.

Watch Chu speak at Vogtle Nuclear Plant