By Jesse Berst
Quick Take: The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) has issued a report claiming that when it comes to energy innovation, the U.S. government is 1) spending too little and 2) spending it wrong.Oh, and by the way, the government should also 3) create a comprehensive energy policy.
Click the link to download a copy of Breaking Down Federal Investments in Clean Energy. It analyzes the last four years of federal investments, and the picture is not a pretty one:
- Investment in clean energy manufacturing has declined 92% (ouch!)
- Nearly two-thirds of all investment went to deployment and procurement, not research and development
"The energy innovation ecosystem has been hollowed out," claimed ITIF Senior Analyst Matthew Stepp in a prepared statement. "Although the Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 stimulated public investments across the energy innovation ecosystem, many of these programs and incentives have since expired or concluded."
I'm not a fan of government intervention towards deployment, because I think governments are bad at picking winners and losers. But I do think federal governments have a role in basic research -- in funding long-horizon projects that industry can't afford to tackle.
But let me ask you your opinions. You see how China and (to a lesser extent) Europe are forging ahead with energy R&D efforts often 10 or more times as large as those in the United States. Are they the dumb ones who are wasting money? Ten years from now, will Americans be smugly satisfied that they did not foolishly allocate money to energy R&D like the Chinese? Use the Talk Back comment form below to register your opinion.
Read the report >>
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Jesse Berst is the founder and chief analyst of Smart Grid News.com, the industry's oldest and largest smart grid site. A frequent keynoter at industry events in the U.S. and abroad, he also serves on advisory committees for Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the Institute for Electric Efficiency. He often provides strategic consulting to large corporations and venture-backed startups. He is a member of the advisory boards of GridGlo and Calico Energy Services.