Renewable Energy Conference Spotlights American Energy Innovation
On Tuesday, June 2, New England Economic Partnership, The Massachusetts Business Roundtable, and the Brandeis International Business School held a conference at the Boston Federal Reserve titled “Building the Backbone of Energy Efficiency.” The event featured public and private energy leaders speaking on a variety of topics, from infrastructure to regional and national regulations. A panel titled “Technology, Innovation and Sustainability: Developing and Funding Our Energy Future” took a look at the individual roles and collaborative opportunities for public and private actors in the energy space.
Increase Energy R&D: The session began with a call to double U.S. energy research and development. At the federal level, the assumption that entities such as the Department of Energy and National Science Foundation must play a mere basic research role is, in Bunn’s mind, “dead wrong.” To the panel, funding increases will greatly accelerate technological progress in all fields.
Investments Must Balance Efficiency and Risk: Also emphasized was the need for investment in the high risk, high reward projects that lead to groundbreaking innovations, especially on the government side. Where the private sector may not have the appetite for ventures with less economic certainty, the government must step up to give these projects a chance to flourish and accept that some will inevitably fail. With the next three year energy efficiency plan currently in development, administration is looking at the proven track record of energy efficiency as a low-risk way to maximize the state’s ‘bang for its buck.’
Diversity and Collaboration is Key: Panel touched on the role of public and private collaboration in promoting increased renewable energy development. Panelists expressed an ambition for a diverse energy portfolio, while some shared the view that the way to get there, both nationally and internationally, is through cooperation. Suggested: a substantial carbon price crafted with the help of private partners to motivate innovation, such as carbon sequestration technologies, without substantially hurting the industry.