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Published on November 1st, 2009 | by Yael Borofsky


$15 Billion Per Year Needed for Clean Energy R&D Says Growing Consensus of Innovation Supporters

November 1st, 2009 by  

As the Senate version of pending climate legislations, Kerry-Boxer’s CEJAPA, heads for mark-up on Tuesday, voices calling for $15 billion annually for clean energy research and development are starting to gain traction. Earlier this week, Google’s Director of Climate Change and Energy, Dan Reicher joined the ranks of think tanks such as, Brookings Institution, Third Way, and the Breakthrough Institute, not to mention President Barack Obama, when he called on the Senate EPW committee to include this funding in the bill.

According to Reicher’s testimony (emphasis in original):

“Chairman Boxer, it is essential that Congress address this serious energy R&D short-fall by incorporating President Obama’s goal of $15 billion per year in federal energy R&D spending in final climate legislation.”

This testimony followed on the heals of a letter and discussion paper from the nation’s leading universities to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, emphasizing the need for a bottom line investment of $5 billion dollars annually in R&D, significantly more than would be allocated under both House and Senate version of climate and energy legislation.

According to the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) and the Association of American Universities (AAU):

“The American Clean Energy and Security (ACES) Act calls for an 83% reduction in US carbon emissions by the year 2050. Without significant advances in science and technology, the incentives now provided in ACES and other laws are not sufficient to let the US meet its goals. Many studies have recommended major increases in both Federal and private sector energy R&D to do this; thus the President, in his FY10 Budget, calls for creating a “Clean Energy Technology Fund” of $15 billion per year for 10 years. We need a major effort to obtain the basic scientific knowledge to develop and implement the technologies needed to eliminate the projected growth in the use of fossil fuels, and then to displace five of every six barrels of oil and tons of coal with renewable and nuclear energy, and enhanced energy efficiency.” (emphasis in original)

Affordable and abundant clean energy technology is critical if America truly wants to displace fossil fuel burning power sources. Today, technologies currently on the shelf, so to speak, are not prepared to achieve that goal. As the consensus in support of $15 billion per year for clean energy R&D shows, considerably more clean energy R&D is needed in order to fuel the innovation process that will produce the clean energy technologies we need to both maintain economic competitiveness and mitigate carbon emissions.

Image Credit: SqueakyMarmot via Flickr Creative Commons 

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About the Author

, a Philadelphia native, writes about cleantech in order to contribute to the discourse on the role of renewables in the world's energy future. When she's not writing, Yael helps organize the annual North American Wine Bloggers' Conference, runs, bikes, hikes, and remains faithfully loyal to her beloved Philadelphia Phillies.

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