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Breakthrough Institute

Breakthrough Institute

The Breakthrough Institute is a paradigm-shifting think tank committed to modernizing liberal thought for the 21st Century. Our core values are integrity, imagination and audacity.…

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Premium Content

Biden Confident National Investment will Spark Clean Energy Breakthrough

Last week, Vice President Joe Biden vowed that the country will lead the global clean energy revolution by harnessing its citizens' entrepreneurial spirit and innovative capacity. Speaking at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Biden emphasized the vital role public-private partnerships have historically played in unleashing transformative innovations, and the critical nature of this collaboration in sparking breakthrough clean energy technologies.

Biden's speech, excerpted below, can be watched in full here.

Now, more than ever, America's future competitiveness depends on our ability to innovate and our capacity to live up to our rich history of technological advancement. This kind of public-private partnership fosters extraordinary innovation, allows brilliant ideas to develop, and gives businesses the tools they need to bring technology to the market.

What we've realized is sometimes it takes a national investment and a national vision to spark private sector investment. The government never does it. But the government can spark it on occasion. And over and over it again it has been that American model of innovation that has allowed us to lead the world in technological advances over the last 150 years. It's part of our nation's DNA. It's embedded in our nation's history.

Whether it was government collaborating with private industry to make rifles that had interchangeable parts during the revolutionary war, or Congress helping Samuel Morris build a transmission facility, the line that he could not afford to build, to demonstrate that his invention worked, proving it would go over long distances and turning it into what ended up being the telecommunications industry we know today. Or President Lincoln paying any private railroad who'd lay 40 miles of track on the transcontinental railroad in $16,000 in government treasury bonds which they would not have done otherwise to carry commerce across America and having now a $380 billion rail industry in America.

Or President Eisenhower investing in what he called beyond the horizon ideas at ARPA in the late 50s creating the internet and so much more. That's America's story. That's the history of the journey of the country.

It's been our story from the beginning.

By. Sara Mansur

This article was published with permission from The Breakthrough Institute




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  • Anonymous on June 01 2011 said:
    Please tell Joe to tell his boss that they need to offer a PRIZE of $1 billion for "clean, affordable and scalable electricity." That's the missing BREAKTHROUGH.It's worth a billion - we've have wasted 50 years and almost $50 billion at DOE already. We need a SOLUTION, not more business as usual. OFFER the PRIZE.

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