June 11, 2010
Chu: Increasing Energy R&D is an Economic Competitiveness Imperative
U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu warned today that if the United States allows funding for energy R&D to decline it risks losing its leadership in energy innovation to China and other emerging economic competitors.
Speaking at the release of a new report on energy innovation by the President's science advisors, Chu declared that "federal support of scientific R&D is critical to our economic competitiveness."
The new report, published today by the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), urges the President and Congress to substantially boost federal funding for energy research, development, demonstration, and deployment--to $16 billion per year. Recognizing the major advances needed to make clean energy technologies viable alternatives to fossil fuels, the report recommends that the bulk (three quarters) of this new funding be directed earlier on in the innovation process, towards research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) activities
The PCAST report is a prominent addition to a growing chorus of expert voices calling for greater investment in energy innovation. Most recently, the Breakthrough Institute, Brookings Institution, and American Enterprise Institute released a "Post-Partisan" plan for energy innovation, calling for a $25 billion investment. And earlier this year, top business leaders, including Bill Gates and Norman Augustine, released a plan calling for $16 billion in RD&D.
For more on Chu's speech and the PCAST report, see this great coverage from TIME's Bryan Walsh.