Center for American Progress

Seize the Energy Opportunity or Slip Further Behind

Seize the Energy Opportunity or Slip Further Behind

There is no reason why the United States shouldn’t lead the world in renewable energy.

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China’s leaders are investing $12.6 million every hour to green their economy. Other countries are equally energetic in their embrace of alternative energy technologies; they are setting targets and investing billions of dollars to spur the development of entirely new markets in wind, solar, geothermal, biofuels, energy efficiency, high-speed rail, and other clean and innovative solutions to global warming.

The United States, too, is poised to transform its economy to create millions of new jobs and help create a cleaner, safer planet by investing in a green, renewable-energy based economy. The Obama administration wants to unleash the ingenuity of our private sector to rein in pollution and put millions of Americans back to work. Yet China is spending twice as much as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act spends to lay the foundations for a green energy economy, despite the U.S. economy being 1.5 times as large as China’s. And across Europe and Asia, other governments have diversified their energy portfolios and encouraged entrepreneurs to start and expand clean and renewable energy companies.

There is no reason why the United States shouldn’t lead the world in renewable energy. Start-up companies across our country should be developing the solar panels of the future for deployment in the Southwest and on rooftops with good exposure to the sun nationwide. Wind turbines should be sprouting across our Great Plains and our coastlines. Thermal energy captured beneath our mountains and beneath our homes should be part of our alternative energy mix. And as a nation we should be developing and deploying the battery technologies needed to power the hybrid cars built in auto factories in the Midwest and elsewhere—alongside a smart electric grid capable of helping all Americans save on energy costs and combat global warming.

The rest of the world is seizing this opportunity. If we seize it with them, then together we can save the planet and develop China, the European Union, and the rest of the world as our customers.

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