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Idea of the Day: United States Falling Behind in Clean Energy Race

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The United States is at risk of being left in the dust in the clean energy race. But we can catch up. A Clean Energy Standard, or CES, which mandates that electric utilities generate a certain percentage of their power from clean energy sources, is an essential first step.

The global market for efficient and renewable energy technologies is expected to reach at least $2 trillion by the end of this decade. China and the European Union, and especially Germany, are clamoring to lead this clean energy race. These countries have set clear goals for renewable energy and energy efficiency use, along with carbon emission targets and investment strategies to promote clean technology development for export markets.

China, for instance, just released its 12th five-year plan, which mandates massive deployment of solar power in villages, a 17 percent reduction in greenhouse gas intensity, and a 16 percent reduction in the energy intensity of their economy. China also invests an estimated $12 billion per month into its clean tech sector.

With the right policy tools we have the innovative strength and drive to lead the clean energy future. To do so we must increase market demand for clean energy products, help move public and private financing into clean tech industries, and create the necessary infrastructure to move these new energy resources to market.

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This is part of a regular column: Idea of the Day

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