The American Energy Innovation Council (AEIC), has released a detailed report highlighting the global energy challenge and offering recommendations. Members of the group were due to meet with President Obama in the White House to discuss their concerns and possible remedies.
The group sees the energy challenge as more serious and much worse than most people realize, predicting a burden that will become more costly unless the U.S. can change its current energy policies.
In its findings, the group pointed out that the nation spends $80 billion a year on military research and $30 billion a year on health and medical R&D, but only around $5 billion each year on new energy R&D. With such a small amount of the national budget devoted toward energy research, the group believes the U.S. lags behind other countries in spending on alternative energy.
To remedy the situation, the AEIC is offering five specific recommendations:
- Invest a minimum of $16 billion a year on clean energy. The group said that the U.S. currently spends $16 billion overseas on foreign fuel every 16 days.
- Fund ARPA-E at $1 billion per year. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency was the key agency involved in launching the Internet and today focuses on high-risk but high-payoff technologies. ARPA's energy branch can serve a similar function in researching and helping to commercialize alternative-energy projects, said the AEIC.
- Create Centers of Excellence with strong expertise and resources in specific fields. Universities and laboratories can fill this need by providing access to testing facilities to help spur research, said the group.
- Create an independent national energy strategy board. Such a board would develop and monitor a new national energy plan for Congress.
- Establish and fund a New Energy Challenge Program to build large-scale pilot projects. Reporting to the energy strategy board, this program would work on ramping up energy technologies to reach commercial or near-commercial levels.
AEIC members include Microsoft Founder Bill Gates, General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt, Xerox CEO Ursula Burns, former Lockheed Martin Chairman Norman Augustine, Bank of America Chairman Chad Holliday, Tim Solso Chairman and CEO Cummins, and John Doerr of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.