Yesterday, Secretary Chu joined Vice President Joe Biden at the White House to help unveil a new report on how investments made through the Recovery Act have been impacting innovation. While the report analyzed several major sectors, its most striking findings centered on energy.
The Recovery Act and Department of Energy investments in a range of solar energy technologies are helping make solar power much more cost-competitive, with significant cost reductions expected between now and 2015. The Recovery Act included more than $5 billion for solar photovoltaic and concentrated solar power systems, investments that span laboratories, factories and project sites. These investments in the solar sector -- coupled with continued support through the tax code -- are expected to accelerate the pace of innovation and commercial deployment in the U.S.
The Recovery Act is also supporting 20 battery factories and helping bring down costs by 70 percent between 2009 and 2015. Driving down the cost of batteries for electric vehicles is a major milestone, as it will put their lifetime costs below that of similar non-electric vehicles. Additionally, it is expected that the lifespan of these batteries will increase nearly three-fold, allowing for approximately 14 years of use.
It doesn't stop there though. The report also finds that the U.S. is now on track to double both renewable energy generation and manufacturing capacity by 2012. That's a breakthrough that would not have occurred so swiftly had it not been for the investments made by the Recovery Act, a fact that was not lost on Secretary Chu:
"Thanks to investments made possible by the Recovery Act, we are unleashing the American innovation machine to change the way we use and produce energy in this country," said Secretary Chu. "Just as importantly, these breakthroughs are helping create tens of thousands of new jobs, allowing the U.S. to continue as a leader in the global economy and helping to provide a better future for generations to come."
Vice President Biden built off the Secretary's remarks by reminding the audience, which included more than two dozen businesses and research institutions that are leveraging Recovery Act investments to further their efforts, that it is their hard work and innovative thinking that will ultimately make these breakthroughs a reality.
"We're planting the seeds of innovation, but private companies and the nation's top researchers are helping them grow, launching entire new industries, transforming our economy and creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs in the process."
For more information on how the Recovery Act is helping to foster innovation visit the White House's new Innovation page or read the report: "The Recovery Act: Transforming the American Economy through Innovation".