Chu: Electric cars will go 300 miles on single charge by 2016
Last week, The Pew Charitable Trust enlisted former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm “as a senior advisor in their efforts to promote clean energy policies that create jobs, stimulate innovation, spur investment and enhance America’s competitiveness in the global clean energy race.” Granholm will “will travel the country to demonstrate the economic opportunities of advancing policies that make cars cleaner, industry more efficient and renewable energy more accessible and affordable.”
CAP’s Lee Hamill has more on the story.
U.S. Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu expressed his overwhelming support for the Pew Environment Group‘s new national clean energy campaign at an event last week. Sec. Chu prefaced his remarks by noting that he rarely has a strong desire to attend events, but he actually asked if he could speak at this one declaring his very heartfelt appreciation with a smile: “Boy am I enthusiastic about this effort.”
Secretary Chu emphasized that the U.S. is in a tight race. No longer is the focus on developing policies for 15 years into the future; now the country must think five years out. The Nissan Leaf, the newly introduced all-electric car, can go 100 miles off of one charge. Sec. Chu reported that five years from now electric cars will be able to go 300 miles on a single charge.
Likewise, Chu also emphasized that companies follow the places where policy most benefits them. According to Sec. Chu, this race is “not about cheap labor in China.” China has secure markets that are a direct result of their energy policies.
Tapped to lead Pew’s new efforts are former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, alongside former Virginia Senator John Warner. Together they will travel the country promoting a national clean energy policy in America.
The purpose of the campaign is to demonstrate to the American public that robust clean energy policies can help to rebuild American competitiveness in the global market. Sen. Warner reminded attendees at the event that gathering public support for policies is essential because “Congress looks to its constituents.”
The time has come to bring the fight back to the people, which is exactly what this campaign aims to do. Granholm and Warner will demonstrate that a national clean energy policy would give Americans what they are looking for – jobs and lower energy prices. The campaign targets public support, which is the first step in creating policy.
Granholm spoke of her former Michigan constituents recalling that people aren’t necessarily concerned with clean energy in their day to day life, instead they are occupied with keeping or finding jobs and managing the rising costs of filling up their gas tanks. She reminded attendees of the importance of making the connection between American’s daily concerns and things like competitiveness and clean energy. For this reason the campaign’s overarching goal is to demonstrate why a national energy policy is important, and help people relate to these complicated issues.
Pew made a good choice in bringing Governor Granholm in to lead the campaign. She has not only proven her commitment to clean energy, but she has also demonstrated through her eight years as governor that instituting robust clean energy policies can result in economic growth. In October of 2008 she signed a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) into law requiring 10% of Michigan’s energy to come from renewable sources by 2015 and 25% by 2025. She announced speedy results in her 2009 State of the State Address: In the first few months after the RPS was in place, three out-of-state wind turbine companies expanded operations to Michigan. That same year the Center for American Progress gave additional examples of the success of a state RPS.
In just 15 months between August 2009 and December 2010, 17 clean energy companies came to Michigan creating 63,000 new jobs. This was a result of Michigan’s fuel cell battery policy within the auto industry. Granholm clearly has the knowledge and experience to illustrate to America the benefits of energy policy making her more than qualified to lead the national clean energy campaign.
Many national strategies have been suggested to move the United States toward a more clean energy future, but first we need public support. By pulling together resources, bipartisan leadership, and a concrete plan of action, PEW’s campaign can help rally American support for a national clean energy policy.
– Lee Hamill is a CAP Energy Intern