Granholm Discusses Clean Energy Expansion

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Jennifer Granholm, former governor of Michigan, presented a plan for a bipartisan initiative that she said could help the U.S. regain a world leadership role in the creation of new clean energy technologies.

Granholm spoke at a reception earlier this week on clean energy hosted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Energy Initiative and the Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change.

Granholm, who now represents the Pew Charitable Trusts' Clean Energy Program, said other countries have been ‘much more aggressive’ than the U.S. in pushing for clean energy, adding that this country has ‘a patchwork’ of state policies and no strong national program to promote such technologies.

The former governor identified specific policy priorities, including a national renewable energy standard of 20% by 2020. Such a policy ‘sends a market signal’ that would help businesses focus on developing needed technologies, Granholm said.

Granholm also encouraged increasing the amount of money that is invested in energy development. For example, increasing ARPA-E's current budget of $3.8 billion annually to $16 billion annually would allow the U.S. to become a major producer or energy systems, she said.

Granholm pointed out that since 2004, there has been a 630% increase in private-sector investment in clean electricity worldwide. In 2008, the U.S. was No. 1 in production of clean energy technology, but by 2009 China had surged ahead, and in 2010 both China and Germany were ahead of the U.S.

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