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Catalyzing American Ingenuity: The Role of Government in Energy Innovation

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

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Innovation is the core of America’s economic strength and future prosperity. New ideas and technological advances fundamentally shape our quality of life. They are the key to fostering sustained economic growth, creating jobs in new industries, and continuing America’s global leadership.

Throughout the history of the United States, the federal government has played a central role in catalyzing and driving innovation and technology development in a variety of strategic areas—defense, health, agriculture, and information technology, to name a few—and it has often done so with strong results.

However, of all the sectors in the economy where innovation has a critical role to play, the energy sector stands out. Ready access to reliable, affordable forms of energy is not only vital for the functioning of the larger economy, it is vital to people’s everyday lives. It also significantly impacts the country’s national security, environmental well-being and economic competitiveness.

Unfortunately, the country has yet to embark on a clean energy innovation program commensurate with the scale of the national priorities that are at stake. In fact, rather than improve the country’s energy innovation program and invest in strategic national interests, the current political environment is creating strong pressure to pull back from such efforts.


The American Energy Innovation Council (AEIC) is a group of six corporate leaders who came together in 2010 as a result of a common concern over America’s insufficient commitment to energy innovation. We speak as executives with broad-based success in innovation, who, in the course of our careers, have been called upon to overcome obstacles, seize opportunities, and make difficult decisions, all in the pursuit of building great American companies. We seek to share that experience as it relates to meeting the clean energy challenge.

AEIC is a project of the Bipartisan Policy Center.

KEYWORDS: AMERICAN ENERGY INNOVATION COUNCIL (AEIC), BILL GATES, CHAD HOLLIDAY, DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY, ENERGY EFFICIENCY, JEFF IMMELT, JOHN DOERR, NORMAN AUGUSTINE

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Innovation and Technology