Now is the 'Sputnik moment' for clean tech in the U.S., Energy Secretary Steven Chu declared in a speech at the National Press Club in Washington today.
The part of the Soviet Union is today being played by China (of course). China's clear lead in any number of clean energy technologies--advanced coal, nuclear, renewables, etc. is jarring. And the scale of China's investments in developing new technologies across the board in clean energy demonstrates a commitment to long-term leadership if not out-right domination.
Will the U.S. direct concerted policy to drive research and development in clean energy technologies that aren't currently affordable (unless you include unaccounted costs associated with oil dependency, energy insecurity and global climate change)?
Will U.S.-based companies combine creativity and perspiration, innovation and continuous improvement to move ahead of China, Inc.?
The fear and insecurity inspired by the little Sputnik satellite transformed into American will power to over-take the USSR in the race to the moon. Can we harness that same sense of urgency and national pride in a contemporary race with even bigger stakes?
- Jon Harmon