U.S. can use clean power to build economy, says top energy official

October 14. 2011 2:19PM

By Joshua Burd

The United States must use the growing clean-power industry to build its economy and continue to be a worldwide leader in innovation, the nation's top energy official said Friday before a group of students, faculty and staff at Stevens Institute of Technology.

"America does have an opportunity to lead in these clean-energy technologies," Energy Secretary Steven Chu said at the Hoboken campus. "We remain the most innovative country in the world, but 'invented in America' is not good enough."

Chu headlined a panel discussion that focused on using technology to address the world's critical issues. The presentation was part of a three-day series of events marking the inauguration of Nariman Farvardin, who took over in July as Stevens' seventh president.

Chu, a 1997 co-winner of the Nobel Prize in physics, described several of history's prominent inventions, ranging from fertilizers to airplanes, during his presentation on how innovation has changed the world. Each technology addressed a need and helped solve a challenge in society, he told an audience of about 300.

One of the world's newest challenges, the rise in the emission of heat-trapping greenhouse gases, has given way to new innovations in energy, Chu said. It also has spawned new industries around solar power and other clean-energy technologies, creating new opportunities for research to drive the U.S. economy and for government to invest in innovation.

This "is essentially going to be a second industrial revolution," said Chu, who took over the cabinet post in January 2009.

Chu gave his presentation as state officials and industry members grapple with how to bring stability to New Jersey's solar market. The market price of solar renewable energy certificates began to drop earlier this year when the supply of solar technology began to outpace the demand created by statutory requirements.

Friday's panel also included Dr. Jeong Kim, executive vice president of Alcatel-Lucent and president of Bell Labs, and was moderated by Christine Lagorio, executive editor of the business website Inc.com.

Stevens offers several academic and research programs for sustainability education, including a minor in green engineering and a graduate certificate in sustainable engineering, according to its website.


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