To jumpstart U.S. action toward a comprehensive energy security roadmap, the Council on Competitiveness has extracted, from its ESIS work, a First 100 Days Action agenda for the 44th President of the United States and the new Congress. Some of the key elements are:
First, the next President must mandate that Federal procurement — for goods, services, new construction, and facilities retrofits — lead the market toward higher energy efficiency standards, with concomitant reduction of carbon load. Such leadership by example, and requirement, will encourage the private sector in this direction.
The next Administration must encourage the development and utilization of all energy sources, in a sustainable way, by equalizing energy source subsidies, and by creating incentives for discovery and deployment of new energy sources. One means to accomplish this is to direct the Office of Management and Budget to create a cross-governmental task group to identify barriers to various sources of energy production, and to issue a Presidential Executive Order, or to propose legislation, as necessary, to construct a consistent investment framework for clean energy development. This framework must require a full life-cycle analysis, including cost and environmental impact, for each energy alternative, as well as regulatory requirements, legal liabilities, tax incentives, accelerated depreciation for outmoded assets, and market distortion from global trade subsidies and tariffs.
The next Administration must ramp up investment in energy research, development, and commercialization. This means at least tripling the current federal investment in basic and applied energy research and development; creating public-private partnerships with baseline federal funding — to be matched by state and private sector investments — to create regionally-based research and development test-beds and large-scale commercial pilots for new energy technologies. It means expanding federal programs, and creating new initiatives, that provide financing for clean energy start-up businesses, support for existing small and medium-sized businesses in the development and deployment of clean energy technologies, and funding for pre-commercialization of technology for clean energy.
The next Administration should establish a $200 billion national “clean energy” bank, modeled on the U.S. Export-Import Bank and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), to provide long-term financing for private sector investment in sustainable energy solutions that reduce, avoid, or sequester carbon; for their deployment to market; and for development of supporting infrastructure.
This approach recognizes the crucial role of private sector demand, and action, in driving energy system transformation — a role largely unrecognized and unaddressed in prior policy initiatives.
These measures begin to address our national need for redundancy of supply and diversity of source, to provide protection against supply disruption — whether from natural disaster, or geopolitical instability — and against price volatility. These are pathways to greater energy self-sufficiency. They, also, offer an entry point for linking optimum source to sector of use — in other words, for thinking strategically about how each sector is best