On May 14th the New America Foundation held an event on the future of solar technology and America’s competitive edge. Mike Splinter, President and CEO of Applied Materials, was the featured speaker for the event. Rhone Resch, President of Solar Energy Industries Association, was invited to offer opening remarks. The event was moderated by Steven Clemons, Director of the American Strategy Program at New America. An MP3 audio recording can be downloaded below, while video is available at right.
To begin his discussion, Mr. Splinter raised the issue of record-high energy prices; oil prices are rapidly rising and the cost of coal has doubled in the last year. There is a great demand from the American people for energy alternatives. Mr. Splinter believes renewable energy is the solution. He stated that within a century renewable energy could provide 100% of the world’s primary energy needs.
There is also increasing competition overseas as Germany and China take the lead in developing renewable energies. Mr. Splinter believes the U.S. should take the lead rather than follow in developing a low-carbon economy. He offered a three-step formula for America to take the lead in renewable energy. First, there should be significant loan guarantees for businesses that invest in clean energy production. Next, there should be a significant increase in R&D for America to maintain its technological edge. Finally, Congress should pass a long-term extension of the solar investment tax to encourage extensive investment in infrastructure.
Mr. Splinter concluded by stating the urgent need for an energy solution, “Energy and the environment are the two biggest social and economic issues of our time. America has the ability to make a difference.”
-Faith Smith, American Strategy Intern
New America Foundation
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Washington, DC, 20009
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