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Corporate leaders push for renewable energy development

The American Energy Innovation Council (AEIC) launched recently, releasing a report and a set of recommendations intended to help push renewables and other clean energy technologies further into the overall energy picture in the U.S.

The group, which includes top executives from Microsoft, GE, Cummins, Bank of America, Xerox, Lockheed Martin and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, said that its mission is to foster economic growth and job creation and to re-establish America's energy technology leadership through robust, public investments in world-changing energy technologies.

The AEIC's announcement comes as energy matters, including the need for clean, renewable energy development, are being pushed ever further into the spotlight.

For hydropower, the leading renewable energy source, as well as other renewable and non-renewable energy sources, there is much emphasis being placed on sustainable, environmentally-sound development.

At the upcoming HydroVision International 2010 event in North Carolina, a New Development conference track is offered, which includes a session on sustainable hydropower development. In addition, a Water Resources track is offered, with sessions on hot topics in ecosystems sustainability, greenhouse gas emissions and other issues.

The AEIC had five specific recommendations, listed below:

• Create an independent national Energy Strategy Board
• Invest $16 billion per year in clean energy innovation
• Create Centers of Excellence with strong domain expertise
• Fund ARPA-E at $1 billion per year
• Establish and fund a New Energy Challenge Program to build large-scale pilot projects

The national Energy Strategy Board would be charged with developing and monitoring a National Energy Plan for Congress and the executive branch and with oversight of a New Energy Challenge Program. The board would be a politically neutral non-governmental entity that would include experts in energy technologies and associated markets.

The $16 million in funding would come out as multi-year commitments and focused on technologies that are capable of being scaled up quickly. The challenge program would be structured as a partnership between the federal government and the energy industry and focus on the transition from pre-commercial, large-scale energy systems to integrated, full-size system tests.

The public sector would initially commit $20 billion over 10 years through a single federal appropriation, which would unleash significant private sector resources as projects are developed.

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