Yesterday in a speech at the National Press Club, U.S. Secretary of Energy, Dr. Steven Chu compared the 1957 Sputnik “Space Race” between the U.S. and the Soviet Union to the current challenges the U.S. is facing as countries like China rapidly innovate in the area of energy technology.
Secretary Chu posed a central question that should resonate with EcoCAR teams, sponsors and enthusiasts – Will we maintain America’s innovation leadership or will we fall behind? During the speech, he stated that “America still has the opportunity to lead the world in a new industrial revolution and secure our future prosperity, but time is running out. Federal support of scientific R&D is critical to our economic competitiveness.”
How does Secretary Chu propose we secure an innovation leadership role for the United States? First, increase the support of energy R&D. Second, formulate sensible, long-range energy policies that have bipartisan support.
Innovations in energy technology, like those that come from competitions like EcoCAR, can generate significant and quantifiable public benefits, which are not presently recognized or rewarded by the free market. For the U.S. to remain competitive in the world of innovation, federal support of scientific R&D is imperative.
Watch Secretary Chu’s speech here.