On Tuesday, I joined President Obama in Cleveland to meet with small business leaders and get their ideas on how we can support their work in clean energy. America’s small businesses are engines of innovation and job creation. In fact, they create two out of every three new jobs in this country. Their ingenuity is essential to win the clean energy race and grow our economy, so I wanted to hear their unfiltered thoughts on our country’s approach to clean energy, what we’ve done well and where we can do better.
During a two-hour discussion, I heard excitement for the opportunities offered by the President’s agenda. Folks around the room supported the President’s bold goal of generating 80 percent of America’s electricity from clean sources by 2035. As I told the group, a Clean Energy Standard would create a guaranteed market for clean energy, one in which the best technologies and the most innovative approaches will break through and find investment capital that might have otherwise sat on the sidelines.
By growing the domestic market for clean energy, we’ll create jobs and nurture our clean energy industries, including manufacturing, so we can compete in the rapidly growing global clean energy economy.
But there is still more work to be done. As members of the discussion pointed out, we can’t become complacent. We need to continue to improve how we support small businesses, and make sure they have a level shot at getting the research and development investments they need to fund their cutting-edge ideas and bring them to market.
We must also continue to champion entrepreneurs in Ohio and across America. Their innovative thinking is key to winning the future and ensuring that we’re exporting, not importing, the clean energy technologies of the future.
If you are a current or aspiring small business owner, I invite you to continue the discussion on my Facebook page. Let me know what you think the Administration can to do to accelerate the growth of the clean energy industry and stimulate private sector investment in the jobs of the future, and I’ll make sure to keep listening.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts.
Steven Chu is the Secretary of Energy