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Bill Gates & Other Corporate Leaders Call for Renewable Push

Led by Microsoft's Bill Gates and GE's Jeff Immelt, the American Energy Innovation Council (AEIC) launched this week, releasing a report and a set of reccomendations that could help push renewables and other clean energy technologies even further into the overall energy picture in the U.S.

The group, which also includes top executives from Cummins, Bank of America, Xerox, Lockheed Martin and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, said that its mission is to correct the "deficient" American energy system.

"To correct these deficiencies, we must make a serious commitment to modernizing our energy system with cleaner, more efficient technologies. Such a commitment should include both robust, public investments in innovative energy technologies as well as policy reforms to deploy these technologies on a large scale. By tapping America’s entrepreneurial spirit and longstanding leadership in technology innovation, we can set a course for a prosperous, sustainable economy—and take control of our energy future," the council's mission statement said.

The AEIC had five specific recommendations, listed below.

  • Create an independent national Energy Strategy Board
  • Invest $16 billion per year in clean energy innovation
  • Create Centers of Excellence with strong domain expertise
  • Fund ARPA-E at $1 billion per year
  • Establish and fund a New Energy Challenge Program to build large-scale pilot projects

The national Energy Strategy Board would be charged with developing and monitoring a National Energy Plan for Congress and the executive branch, and oversight of a New Energy Challenge Program. The board would be a politically neutral non-governmental entity and include experts in energy technologies and associated markets.

Th $16 million in funding would come out as multi-year commitments and focused on technologies that are capable of being scaled up quickly. The challenge program would be structured as a partnership between the federal government and the energy industry and focus on the transition from pre-commercial, large-scale energy systems to integrated, full-size system tests.

The public sector would initially commit $20 billion over 10 years through a single federal appropriation, which would unleash significant private sector resources as projects are developed.

For more info on the group's mission, watch the video embedded below.

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