The Council on Competitiveness, which on Sept. 9 unveiled a roadmap for a sustainable energy future for the U.S., is calling for the next U.S. president to put the full weight of his office behind the Council's 100-Day Energy Action Plan aimed at quickly advancing a comprehensive energy agenda to ensure energy security and sustainability.
The Council's roadmap represents more than a year of collaboration by over 200 private sector leaders, including CEOs, university presidents, organized labor leaders, national laboratory directors and energy experts. The group identified six critical drivers to ensure energy sustainability and security, while avoiding higher gas prices, fuel rationing and a national inability to compete in the global market due to high energy costs. Those drivers include:
- Urging the president to mandate that the federal government purchase products and services to meet the highest energy and technology and efficiency standards
- Create a $200 billion national clean energy bank to provide debt financing and drive private investment in developing sustainable energy solutions and support infrastructure
- Create a seamlessly connected electrical power highway that is technologically capable of allowing both on and off ramps for all energy sources
- Develop and utilize all energy sources in a sustainable way and create incentives to discover and deploy new sources of clean energy
- Fill the workforce with a new generation of skilled talent, including science and technology researchers, front-line workers, and game changing innovators
- Increase investment in research and development and market commercialization to deliver secure, sustainable energy.
"Now, more than ever, the manufacturing industry has significant need for sustainable, secure and affordable energy. We are seeing energy prices and supply volatility not only affect economic growth and global trade, but also the competitiveness of any nation that cannot address the current and future energy needs of its people and its industrial base. Industrial vitality is significantly dependent on energy security and sustainability. With today's skyrocketing prices and short supplies, a comprehensive approach to addressing energy is essential," said Craig Giffi, Vice Chairman, Deloitte, who acted as an advisor to the Council's Steering Committee.
"Currently, North American manufacturing industries are among the most efficient in the world, but its clear from our research that executives are worried about the impact of spiraling raw material costs going forward. While our clients generally have indicated a preference for less government intervention because of concerns with government bureaucracy, its clear that they see government assistance and leadership as an important part of the equation to help improve the competitiveness of the region. Many North American manufacturers would welcome collaborative public-private partnerships to alleviate competitiveness barriers, Giffi added. "We strongly endorse the Council on Competitiveness' action plan and concur that the plan must be adopted by the next president in their first 100 days in order to ensure that we rise to the challenge and seize this opportunity to secure our position as a global leader in energy security, innovation and sustainability. The stakes are far too high for us to accept complacency as we standby and lose our competitive footing in our core and basic industries."