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Biden says US must lead on new energy technology

30 Aug 2011, 7.42 pm GMT

Biden says US must lead on new energy technology

Washington, 30 August (Argus) — US vice president Joe Biden today defended the Obama administration's efforts to expand the use of renewable energy, saying that if the US chooses not to lead the world in new energy technologies it will be one of the “biggest mistakes” the country has made.

“If we do not lead in new energy technology, we will follow,” Biden said.
Biden pushed back against congressional Republicans, who have sought to slash funding for many of the administration's top clean energy programs, such as loan guarantees and research and development for advanced technologies. “I can assure you, the president and I are not going to listen to those voices,” he said in a speech at the National Clean Energy Summit 4.0 in Las Vegas.

Energy secretary Steven Chu delivered similar remarks earlier in the day, saying the federal government has played an “incredibly intimate role” in many important technological milestones, from construction of the transcontinental railroad in the mid-19th century to putting a man on the moon in 1969. “We must not lose sight of that fact,” he said.

Chu highlighted three steps he thinks the government can take at little or no cost to taxpayers: supporting research and development of advanced energy technologies, setting a national clean energy standard and creating a Clean Energy Deployment Administration.

Biden's and Chu's comments come just days ahead of a planned speech in which President Barack Obama will outline proposals to help improve the US economy and create jobs. Many clean energy advocates hope the president will call for continued efforts to develop and deploy renewable energy technologies.

Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada), who also spoke at the conference, has said he intends to bring up jobs legislation that will include a clean energy component, though he has not yet mentioned any specific proposals. Today he called supporting the renewables sector “the best way to create good-paying jobs.”

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