“Jumpstarting a Clean Energy Revolution with a National Institutes of Energy” Report Overview

April 15, 2010 | Jesse Jenkins,

"Jumpstarting a Clean Energy Revolution with a National Institutes of Energy," a policy memo co-authored by the Breakthrough Institute's Director of Climate and Energy Policy, Jesse Jenkins, and Third Way's Joshua Freed and Avi Zevin, is a joint effort by both think tanks to jumpstart American energy research and development.

In September 2009, Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Congressman Rush Holt (D-NJ) joined the Breakthrough Institute and Third Way to release the report and issue a call for significantly increased public investment to catalyze clean energy innovation.

You can watch the video of the release event below or click here.



The memo calls for a national commitment to energy innovation that includes direct support for the research and development of new and existing clean technologies and creates a structure for energy research, modeled on the National Institutes of Health, capable of coordinating large scale R&D efforts.

The memo acknowledges that the U.S. faces a "defining challenge" in its effort to transition to clean energy. Based on historical evidence of national commitments made to confront significant challenges, the authors suggest two key components of a national effort to address the clean energy challenge in the United States.

1) Increase federal investment in energy R&D by $15 billion per year: In line with President Obama's 2009 budget request, the scale of investment for comparable national priorities, and the recommendations of innovation experts, the authors propose a sustained $15 billion per year increase in federal clean energy R&D to approximately $20 billion per year. This level of funding is necessary to both create new breakthrough technologies and drive improvements to existing technology, enabling the production of clean energy at significantly higher efficiencies and lower costs.

2) Create a National Institutes of Energy: Modeled on the National Institutes of Health, a new National Institutes of Energy (NIE) would effectively apply R&D funding to the development of new, low-cost commercial clean energy technologies. The NIE would function as a nationwide network of regionally based, commercially focused, and coordinated innovation institutes. Alongside other effective federal energy R&D agencies, an NIE would critically strengthen the U.S. clean energy innovation system.

Full Report: Download Here (PDF)

To learn more and see pictures taken by Third Way please review our coverage of the event here.

Media Coverage

Washington Independent: "Brown Looks to Add More Money for Clean-Energy Jobs in Climate Bill"

Chicago Tribune: "Push is on for more clean energy research"

ClimateWire: "Call for a 'National Institutes of Energy' to propel research"
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