The US has the opportunity to be the leader in green energy, innovation, and jobs.

Wind, solar, biomass, geothermal and other renewable energies offer four to six times as many jobs as equivalent investments in fossil fuels taking into account manufacturing, installation and operations and maintenance jobs according to the Blue Green Alliance. The How to Revitalize America’s Middle Class with the Clean Energy Economy report finds that over 850,000 manufacturing jobs at existing firms across the United States could be created with the enactment of a national Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) of 25 percent by 2025.

In order to become leaders in the clean energy industry, we need a national strategy that includes “research and innovation, manufacturing, and domestic market creation, as well as supporting investments in infrastructure, education and workforce development, and industry cluster formation” according to the policy brief released in June by the Breakthrough Institute, titled The Power to Compete: Analysis of Key Clean Energy Technology and Competitiveness Provisions in the Kerry-Lieberman American Power Act of 2010. This analysis finds that the proposed legislation falls short in each core policy component of clean energy competitiveness.

The American Energy Innovation Council, a group of high tech business leaders including Bill Gates and Chad Holliday, former Dupont CEO, have released A Business Plan for America’s Energy Future calling for triple the public investment in clean energy R&D, in order to accelerate the pace of energy innovation and catalyze new energy breakthroughs.  Their conclusion is that energy innovation is a commitment to long-term prosperity, and their recommendations include the creation of an independent national energy strategy board, investment of $16 billion annually in clean energy innovation, the creation of ‘Centers of Excellence’ with strong domain expertise, funding the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) at $1 billion annually, and the establishment and funding of a New Energy Challenge Program to build large-scale pilot projects.

The Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes and the Clean Air Task Force have summarized their new report Four Policy Principles for Energy Innovation and Climate Change: A Synthesis  that “there is now little doubt that reducing global carbon dioxide emissions to address climate change at a societally acceptable cost will require substantial innovation in energy systems and technologies over the coming decades” and finds that in addition to R&D, an ambitious public works approach must be taken as a matter of national interest.

Suggested Reading:

The Power To Compete: American Power Act Analysis (June 2010),
Breakthrough Institute & Americans for Energy Leadership

A Business Plan for America’s Energy Future (June 2010),
The American Energy Innovation Council

Four Policy Principles for Energy Innovation and Climate Change: A Synthesis (June 2010),
The Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes and the Clean Air Task Force

How to Revitalize America’s Middle Class with the Clean Energy Economy (2009),
The Blue Green Alliance

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