Over the last several years, we have seen the potential for clean energy and economic growth to go hand in hand. Today, we produce more wind and solar energy than ever before, while our economy is creating jobs at the fastest pace since 1998. According to industry analyses, employment in the solar industry has grown more than 85 percent since 2010, while the price of a rooftop solar system has dropped more than 50 percent.
We have to keep at it — because promoting clean energy innovation will help grow the economy while taking decisive action on climate change.
That is why, today, I was proud to announce a new Clean Energy Investment Initiative at the Department of Energy ARPA-E Summit. Through the Initiative, the Administration seeks to catalyze $2 billion of expanded private-sector investment in solutions to climate change, including innovative technologies with breakthrough potential to reduce carbon pollution. By leveraging the tools and capabilities of the federal government, this new Initiative will increase investment in clean energy technologies.
Further clean energy innovation to improve the cost, performance, and scalability of low-carbon energy technologies will be critical to taking action against climate change. Foundations and institutional investors have the potential to play an important role in accelerating our transition to a low-carbon economy and cutting carbon pollution.
Today’s announcement comes with commitments from the University of California Board of Regents, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and the Schmidt Family Foundation to connect investors with clean energy solutions. Taking just one example, the University of California Board of Regents will build on its commitment to allocate at least $1 billion of its endowment and pension over five years for investments in solutions to climate change.
To build on these initial commitments, the White House will host a Clean Energy Investment Summit later this spring. The Summit will bring together foundations and mission-driven institutional investors to discuss ways to scale up investment in clean energy innovation. The Department of Energy (DOE) will also help catalyze philanthropic activity through the Initiative by leading an effort to identify opportunities to leverage its world-class technical expertise, technologies, and programs to assist in understanding the opportunities and needs to transition to a clean energy economy.
In the State of the Union, President Obama said he wanted Americans to win the race for the discoveries that unleash new jobs in industries of the future. The Clean Energy Investment Initiative announced today brings us one step closer to realizing this goal, while spurring investment in technologies to cut carbon pollution and creating a more secure and affordable energy future.
Brian Deese is the Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget.