Leverage American Innovation
Innovation and creating jobs is just part of who we are. And thanks to innovation, America has reduced its emissions by more than any other country in the last 20 years. We did this through new American technology, research at the Department of Energy, and strong bipartisan support.
We need to double down and get more American innovations to market.
A tokamak thermal nuclear fusion reactor
Why is innovation so important?
Innovation is about making clean energy cheaper. If two technologies are the same price and one is cleaner, utilities and industries worldwide will buy the cleaner alternative. The market for clean energy is a trillion dollar (annual) opportunity.
Investing in innovation pays off. All major advances in new energy technology, from oil to nuclear energy to renewables, had serious government support in their early stages – even the fracking revolution that caused the gas boom. All of these have led to American energy independence. Early stage government support launched a $100 billion annual market. Not a bad return.
There are many parts of our energy and industrial system where we don’t yet have a cheaper clean alternative – much MORE innovation is needed.
Challenge: Large scale energy innovation doesn’t happen in someone’s garage or basement.
Solution: Today, the United States remains the foremost nuclear power in the world, from our power plants to our nuclear navy. We must invest in America’s nuclear plants to keep them online, and keep our domestic industry and supply chain strong.
Challenge: Heavy industry like steel, cement, aluminum and petrochemicals are also established industries — and changing processes may be costly.
Solution: The market-based program we’ve seen in clean energy innovation should be expanded into heavy industry. Think steel, cement, aluminum and petrochemicals.
Challenge: American companies are already stretched thin, and innovation is capital intensive. Meanwhile competitors like China publicly finance most of their energy innovation.
Solution: Tax incentives can bridge the gap between innovation and deployment in America. However, once a technology matures, these credits are no longer necessary. Republicans are leading on legislation to launch important industries like carbon capture and advanced nuclear, including a bill that provides tax credit support to new technologies until they reach a certain market share.