Google dot org blog - News from Googles Philanthropic Arm

Innovation and the Transformation of the Global Energy System

Last Monday, we hosted experts from the U.S. Department of Energy, MIT, Stanford, UC Berkeley, Nth Power and Google for a discussion on clean energy innovation in our San Francisco office. The panelists focused on the important role innovation plays in seizing the economic benefits of developing and deploying cost-effective low carbon technologies.

We were honored to have Under Secretary of Energy Kristina Johnson deliver the opening remarks live from Washington DC. Panelists included Dr. Ernie Moniz, Director of the MIT Energy Initiative, Dr. Daniel Kammen, Director of the UC Berkeley Center for Renewable and Appropriate Energy, Dr. Lynn Orr, Director of the Precourt Institute for Energy at Stanford University, Dan Reicher, Director of Climate Change and Energy Initiatives at Google, and Tim Woodward, Managing Director of Nth Power.

The discussion centered on key themes and policy solutions for advancing clean energy innovation:

  • Promptly establishing a price on CO2 emissions to drive an economically efficient private sector market for new clean energy capital investments;
  • Accelerating the introduction of economy-wide energy efficiency standards and incentives that drive substantial reduction in energy use within a decade;
  • The central role of university research;
  • Expanding and sustaining a clean energy technology innovation agenda focused on both supply and demand. On that point:
  • The unprecedented boost that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provided for clean energy technology research, development and demonstration (RD&D) and the upcoming challenges of the post-stimulus funding "cliff";
  • The need to increase federal RD&D investment to a minimum of $15B/year and sustain funding for at least a decade;
  • Establishing a Clean Energy Deployment Administration, as currently under development in Congress, to help jump-start full-scale cost-competitive commercial deployment.
These policies, if adopted and supported, will help us at last put in place what has been lacking in terms of clean energy innovation: a robust pipeline extending from basic research to applied research to demonstration projects to commercial scale-up to full deployment. At Google, we call this cycle "Lightbulbs to Lightbulbs" -- from the initial "lightbulb moment" of invention to full commercial deployment. Each one of these steps is vital to the whole process. Ignoring any of these steps can inhibit the effectiveness of the whole innovation cycle.

Watch the full event here:

With equal measures of smart policy, investment and will, we can realize the great role clean energy innovation can play to solving climate change and boosting the American economy.

Permalink | Links to this post |

The comments you read here belong only to the person who posted them. We do, however, reserve the right to remove off-topic comments.