Federal investment in clean energy research and development is vital to American economic health and security, Microsoft founder Bill Gates and a coalition of other business leaders advised lawmakers earlier this week.
The coalition, called the American Energy Innovation Council, appealed to Capitol Hill Tuesday to invest in clean energy research and development—despite the current budget-slashing climate of Congress. “Even though the budget challenges are very tough, we think this is an investment that has a very strong payback,” Gates said.
It would be a mistake, Gates stressed, for the government to rely on the private sector alone to further clean energy research and development. “There is a need for government to be involved in funding research,” Gates said in a separate statement. “We have seen this in the medical sector and the IT sector. The benefits to society of research are broad enough that if you just count on the private sector alone, you have very dramatic underinvestment.”
The group, in a report circulated on Capitol Hill Tuesday, recommended eliminating oil and gas subsidies to provide revenue for clean energy investment and advocated for the development of a “green bank,” to provide capital for clean energy projects.