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Gates, Immelt, Want $16bn for Energy R&D

Bill Gates, Jeff Immelt, and other CEOs, investors, and industry leaders lobbied the US to increase its level of spending in energy research and developing spending yesterday with the release of a report from the American Energy Innovation Council (AEIC).

The report lobbies for an increase in R&D spending to $16 billion, up from the current level of a little more than $5 billion. The group points out that defense R&D spending is around $77 billion while health R&D spending comes to $28 billion.

It also endorses a price on carbon emissions without siding with either a cap-and-trade or carbon tax approach.

The group includes current and former executives and board members from Lockheed Martin, Xerox, DuPont and Cummins, and plans to meet with the president and members of Congress. The AEIC says the country’s lack of spending on energy R&D is much more detrimental to the economy than the public realizes.

Among the group’s recommendations are the creation of an independent national Energy Strategy Board to develop and oversee a national energy strategy, funding Centers of Excellence with $150 – $250 million each to pursue and concentrate efforts in energy innovation, fund Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) with at least $1 billion annually, and establish and fund a New Energy Challenge Program to build large-scale pilot projects such as fourth generation nuclear power and carbon capture and storage coal plants, funded with at least $20 billion over the next 10 years.

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