September 13, 2011 | By Bill Gates
Catalyzing American Ingenuity
Everyone should have access to clean, affordable energy but without investments in research and development it will be impossible to achieve that goal.
We are in critical need of a government commitment to research into new energy technologies that can free us from our dependence on foreign oil and create affordable clean-energy alternatives. Yet today, the U.S. government spends only one-sixth as much on energy innovation as it does on medical research.
Working with other business leaders who are part of the American Energy Innovation Council (AEIC), we authored a new report released today called Catalyzing American Ingenuity: The Role of Government in Energy Innovation that outlines key steps the US must take to address our energy challenges.
Understandably, especially in this period of tight budgets, people ask why the private sector can’t fund the necessary R&D into energy alternatives. No matter how well intentioned, utility companies and other private investors simply are not going to invest deeply in the kind of R&D needed to create scalable, low-cost, low-carbon energy innovations. They have little or no economic incentive to do so. This is a unique but critical role for government, one central to our long-term economic competitiveness. Innovation is the core of America’s economic strength and future prosperity.
The report released today builds on the recommendations the AEIC first outlined in June of 2010 in A Business Plan for America’s Energy Future. You can read the full report and other supporting documents at www.americanenergyinnovation.org.