Colorado: US should innovate green energy, official says |

Colorado: US should innovate green energy, official says

Associated Press Writer

DENVER, Colorado ” The real opportunity for the “green” economy to add jobs is not just in making or installing solar panels but in developing technology for efficient and renewable energy, the head of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory said Wednesday.

NREL Director Dan Arvizu said Colorado, with assets like the national lab in Golden and top universities, could find a role as a testbed for moving technology forward.

“The U.S. has the best innovation engine in the world. We risk losing that if we don’t invest” in research and development, Arvizu said at the Denver Leadership Summit, a gathering on business, politics and leadership.

President Barack Obama during his election campaign set a goal of reducing carbon emissions 80 percent by 2050. Energy Secretary Steven Chu last week announced $110 million in federal stimulus money for NREL.

Arvizu and others on a panel discussing energy at the summit Wednesday supported conservation and keeping a broad portfolio of different energy sources, especially while technology develops to make “green” energy more accessible.

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Xcel Energy Chairman, President and CEO Dick Kelly, said electricity usage is going up, whether it’s at businesses or from people turning on plasma TVs. He said zero-emission nuclear energy should remain on the table.

Thomas Petrie, vice chairman of Merrill Lynch and Co., said natural gas would provide a natural bridge for providing energy and reducing emissions until green technologies advance.

Oil and gas industry veteran Peter Dea, now chief executive officer of Cirque Resources LP, quipped that the Bush administration has been seen as drill, baby, drill, while the new administration has been characterized as, “We’re going to blow and bake our way out of this.”

“Neither makes the case to the American people of the importance of energy in everyday life,” he said. He said energy portfolios should be comprehensive.

“My fear is we’ll lose our competitive advantage as a global leader on energy by focusing too much on wind and solar,” Dea said.

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