Center for American Progress

American Clean-Energy Competitiveness Week Wrap-up
Press Release

American Clean-Energy Competitiveness Week Wrap-up

Today the Center for American Progress wraps up "American Clean-Energy Competitiveness Week", but as the facts this week have shown, the race is only beginning—and it’s not too late for the U.S. to pick up speed to take the lead. Below are some events that occurred over the last week, and a press call coming up next week, which underscore the building momentum towards capturing our clean-energy future.

Read the list of all of the facts, here.

The Apollo Alliance-Center for American Progress conference “Picking A Winner: How to Make the U.S. a Leader in the Clean Energy Economy” on March 4 kicked off the Clean Energy Competitiveness Week and highlighted the opportunity in the United States to transform the economy towards a sustainable clean energy path by implementing a comprehensive suite of policies.

Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA) said in an interview at the conference, “We’re just as smart as when we went to the moon. Our kids are smarter than we are. They’re just as energetic. We have an entrepreneurial engine of creation of new businesses in this country unparalleled in the world that includes China, if we’ll just unleash it.”

But, it is necessary to pass comprehensive climate legislation to provide incentives necessary to jump-start the clean energy economy.  Indeed, that’s why a growing number of businesses are joining to urge for action on clean energy and climate. Last week, American Businesses for Clean Energy announced the addition of six national corporations, exceeding the group’s membership to more than 2,400.

On Wednesday, March 10, business leaders from around the country met in Washington to ask Congress to pass pollution reduction legislation so they can reap the economic and job creation benefits.

“It has become clear the energy landscape is going to change,” said Eric Zimmer, president of Ohio-based Tipping Point Renewable Energy. “We face the decision of whether we are going to lead, or lag behind, in the global clean energy economy.”

“The sooner we develop national climate policies, the better equipped we’ll be to compete in the global race for clean energy and create new jobs here at home,” said Jim Hanna, director of environmental impact at Starbucks.

At the Wall Street Journal ECOnomics conference from March 3-5 in Santa Barbara, California, major energy companies agreed on the need for legislation to take control of the eminent clean energy future.

Royal Dutch Shell chief executive Peter Voser said that the industry needs “certainty on the carbon price, certainty on legislation.”

American Electric Power chairman Michael Morris, regarding climate change and clean energy legislation, said, “We need this done. America needs to lead the world [in clean technologies].”

During a speech in Virginia on March 5, President Obama said, “The jobs of tomorrow will be jobs in the clean energy sector…” At a speech at CERA Week, sponsored by IHS Cambridge Research Energy Associates, Energy Secretary Steven Chu said “Let’s get moving now…Time is running out, and the train is leaving the station.” Climate change legislation is needed to spur innovation and without such, China and European countries will continue to surge ahead in the manufacturing and development of clean energy technologies.

Meanwhile, states are moving ahead. On March 5, Colorado approved a measure to increase the state’s renewable energy standard, or RES, to 30 percent by 2020. State leaders recognize the economic benefits of this policy. As State Rep. Max Tyler wrote in Sunday’s Denver Post, the new RES, “will continue to encourage the creation of our own energy businesses as well as drawing new energy companies and investment capital to Colorado. Good new jobs will be created for folks from engineers to construction workers. We will increase our energy independence, protect our environment, and cement Colorado as a leader in America’s clean energy revolution.”

Next Tuesday, March 16, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the United Auto Workers, and the Center for American Progress will host a press call to release a joint report discussing how improvements in vehicle fuel efficiency and better climate policy would improve the nation’s economy and put thousands of people back to work. Representatives from the three organizations and the report’s authors will discuss the report followed by a question-and-answer session. Please contact Suzi Emmerling at 202-481-8224 if you are interested in learning more about the call.

The case is clear: We know the clean energy economy is coming. The question remains: Will we pass the necessary legislation to seize it?