Senator Byron Dorgan and Jigar Shah KEYNOTE: Is America Sleepwalking on Clean Energy? Can Entrepreneurs and Innovators Offer a Wake Up Call?
Thursday, October 4 2:00PM - 3:00PM
AT&T Conference Center Grand Ballroom
America has been the largest investor in basic energy R&D in the world since the 1970s oil
embargo. In 2011, with hydraulic fracturing, energy efficiency, solar, wind, electric vehicles,
and other technologies, America overtook China and became the largest investor in Clean
Energy in the World – growing jobs faster than any other country. Even with all of this
good news, America is not manufacturing most of these energy components because foreign
competitors have a long standing industrial policy of providing governmental subsidies
to strategic industries to promote local manufacturing. In Japan, Canada, and Germany,
for example, the government has directly subsidized efforts to make their green energy
manufacturers price competitive and to capture the resulting jobs. As a result, the U.S.
trade balance in “green goods” is reported to have flipped from a $14.4 billion surplus in
1997 to a deficit of nearly $9 billion by 2008. At home, while the domestic green energy
economy received $50 Billion in private sector investment in 2011, record government support
from the stimulus bill seems unlikely to be renewed in our current politically charged climate –
even though over 75% of Americans enthusiastically support clean energy. So while deployment of clean energy solutions continue, American’s record imports of goods keeps increasing. Is there any way to increase deployment and increase local manufacturing? Senator Byron Dorgan, now a Senior Policy Advisor at Arent Fox LLP in Washington, DC, and Jigar Shah, founder of SunEdison, will explore what can be done to chart a more balanced course and what US and international green energy policies mean for America’s eco-entrepreneurs.
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