White House raises billions for renewable energy

The US government has $4 billion in commitments from the private sector to fund renewable energy technology.

The White House announced ahead of its Clean Energy Investment Summit on June 16 that U.S. government has $4 billion in commitments from members of the private sector to fund clean energy technologies.

"Investing in homegrown innovation, including the development of new, clean-energy technologies, is a crucial part of the fight against climate change - and is key to keeping America on the leading edge of the world's transition to a low-carbon economy," said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz.

Originally, the White House hoped to raise $2 billion in commitments, but the large response from pension funds and other institutional investors exceeded their expectations, according to Brian Deese, senior Obama aide. Some of the largest contributors were the University of California and Goldman Sachs, each donating $500 million to these efforts.

President Obama also proposed $7.6 billion in his 2016 budget for federal spending on clean energy.

Additional executive actions announced

During the June 16 summit, the White House also released its plans for the encouragement of additional investment of clean-energy innovation. Among these actions is a Clean Energy Impact Center at the Department of Energy. This center's goal is to make information about the DOE's energy programs accessible to the public, as well as potential investors.

The government also plans to improve the U.S. Small Business Administration's financing options for private investors seeking capital in the long-term. Lastly, new guidance will allow charitable companies to invest in clean energy technology research by for-profit companies. These investments would be considered "mission-related."

The White House hopes these actions will make it easier for private investors to give money for solar, wind and fuel cell innovation. According to the government, advances in this kind of technology has lowered the cost of solar energy by 50 percent in the past five years.

"We must continue investing in these kinds of innovations if we are to maintain our leadership in reducing carbon pollution while also growing the economy," Moniz said.

More information on clean energy can be found on PennEnergy's research area.

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