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Chris Coons

Chris Coons

Highlights of a presentation by Senator Chris Coons of Delaware at the ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit 2012.

Coons: “The innovation economy, in my view, is the key to sustaining our recovery and putting our economy back on a path towards contributing in a major way to the growth of the entire world. The only piece of this ecosystem that is failing in its mission to deliver -- it’s not the investors, it’s not the innovators, it’s not the academic researchers, it’s not the business leaders, all of you who are gathered here today are inspiring examples of leadership in the energy field -- it falls to us, to the members of the congress, to get over our petty partisan differences and make the decisions we need to make to move America forward.

There will be a clean energy future for this planet. The dynamics of this market place, the dynamics of the emerging economies, they are all well and clearly laid out. The question isn’t whether there will be dramatic innovation, new technologies and whole new market economies. The question is whether American companies, American communities and American workers will be at the center, or the periphery. Whether we will seize this moment in history and actually lead, or whether we will watch it pass us by.

If America is going to lead in the clean energy economy, we have to work together. The private sector can and will, drive and finance these innovations. The academic and national lab communities will make the critical inventions and innovations needed. But the government and in particular the congress and the administration at the national level must set the policy environment to sustain these innovations. We have critical decisions to make in intellectual property, tax, in trade, and regulatory approaches which if done right and swiftly can put us on the right path.

This entity ARPA-E is a precise example of what it is we need to see in Washington and our political system. The work that ARPA-E is doing is making possible is making whole scale innovations in energy production, storage and distribution across all the different channels and streams of energy and they are critical to achieving energy independence for the United States.”