Business Leaders Encouraged by Growing Support for Funding Energy Tech Breakthroughs

Washington, D.C.– As energy ministers from major nations around the world prepare to meet for the 7th Clean Energy Ministerial in San Francisco, top business leaders from the American Energy Innovation Council (AEIC) today applauded their commitment to greater investments in energy technology breakthroughs to promote economic growth.

The five AEIC leaders—Norman Augustine, retired chairman and CEO of Lockheed Martin; John Doerr, chairman, Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers; Bill Gates, co-chairman of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; Michael Graff, chairman and CEO of American Air Liquide; and Charles Holliday, former chairman and CEO of DuPont—stressed that increased investments in energy research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) will be significant drivers of economic growth as markets for new energy technologies grow.

“Investments that can help develop breakthrough energy technologies will be critical for U.S. economic and energy security, especially as other major nations plus up their own investments,” said Norman Augustine, former CEO of Lockheed Martin. “The growing focus on the benefits of energy innovation is an important development.”

The AEIC leaders’ statements come as 20 major nations are expected to announce updates regarding Mission Innovation funding pledges during the Clean Energy Ministerial. Announced last December, the Mission Innovation initiative aims to double overall funding for clean energy RD&D among the participating countries from roughly $10 billion each year to $20 billion. The effort was announced together with the creation of the Breakthrough Energy Coalition—a commitment of private sector leaders to invest heavily in the technologies coming out of the research pipelines in Mission Innovation countries.

The United States’ pledge to double its energy R&D funding under Mission Innovation is a step towards recommendations made by AEIC in 2010 and reinforced in its most recent report. The focus on innovation reflects recent bipartisan momentum towards increasing the U.S. investment in energy R&D.

“Widespread public sector investment in basic energy technology is critical to complement private investment and drive long-term economic growth in America and globally,” said American Air Liquide chairman and CEO Michael Graff. “With new energy markets only set to grow, technological breakthroughs can generate enormous economic dividends while providing the lower cost, cleaner energy the world needs.”

Leading energy and technology companies will join investors from around the world to meet with top energy ministers at this year’s Clean Energy Ministerial summit. A major goal of the event is for public and private sector energy leaders to work together to create cheaper, cleaner and more efficient energy technologies.

“The majority of technology breakthroughs have come through strong partnerships between the public sector and private investors,” said John Doerr of Kleiner Perkins. “The research, development and deployment of energy innovations is a global priority.”

AEIC has issued three major reports on energy R&D and a series of case studies demonstrating the economic and environmental benefits of federal investments in advanced energy technologies.

“The public sector has a critical role in pioneering basic energy science innovations that allow the private sector to develop products for commercial application,” said Charles Holliday, retired chairman and CEO of DuPont. “The U.S. and other major nations must continue to make these investments to help drive long-term technology advancements.”


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