Innovation Nation: Securing our Energy Economy in the 21st Century

As another summer nears its end, and our nation’s economy continues to advance at a rapid pace, we thought it would be good to step back and take a look at where American energy innovation is in 2018. Americans are waking up to the realization that energy sector innovation is an essential part of maintaining healthy businesses.

In just a few decades, the world will use twice as much energy as it does today. The U.S. already has substantial energy needs, and those needs will also continue to grow.

Our country’s dependence on foreign sources of energy severely limits our ability to secure our economic future. But we are leaders in innovation: Our ability to invent new and better ways of doing business remains unsurpassed.

Nuclear power was created by the United States, and it was our ingenuity that ignited the shale gas revolution. Our inventors and engineers perfected the internal combustion engine and optimized solar power costs to make it a viable energy alternative.

Needless to say, our citizens have the ability to further transform our energy industry into a stable system that reinforces America’s place as a nation of innovation on the world stage. But the steps we must take to ensure our economic stability cannot wait.

We need our Congress to take a serious look at how our energy infrastructure will look in the coming decades. A 2016 Department of Energy study found that strategic R&D investments at the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) totaling $12 billion from 1976 to 2012 yielded net economic benefits of $230 billion to the United States.

We need the same forward-thinking investments in clean energy research and development today. Focusing on developing new ways of generating energy now will pay us back tenfold in the years to come.

In order to develop and implement technology that can better our country’s energy consumption, we need innovation on a nationwide scale. This level of innovation will only happen through public-private collaboration.

Collaborations like the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (or ARPA-E) are prime examples of how our public and private sectors can work together to accomplish technological breakthroughs that benefit us all.

So far, the projects initiated by ARPA-E have resulted in the founding of 56 new companies that are working on energy innovation. These large-scale efforts are exactly what our country needs to stay on top issues that may arise from our future energy consumption.

If Congress opens their arms to the private sector and supports initiatives that will cultivate the creation and introduction of new energy-efficient technology, then our nation will rocket into the 21st Century as a pioneer in innovative energy generation techniques, leading the world towards a sustainable future.

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