Winning the Clean Energy Future in Communities Across America

The health of our communities and prosperity of our economy are inextricably linked.  From businesses and educators to state and local governments, communities across America are spearheading the innovations that will help us win the future.  President Obama's plan that he highlighted in the 2011 State of the Union Address to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the world through investments in a clean energy economy will create jobs and improve the quality of the air we breathe and the water drink. 

By investing in clean energy sources and developing 21st century clean energy technologies, we are moving to make America stronger, safer and healthier. Over the past few weeks, I saw this American ingenuity and the role our government has in sparking it firsthand.  In Charlotte, N.C., workers at Carrier Corp. are building high-efficiency commercial HVAC systems that lead the global market and surpass energy efficiency standards by 40 percent.  The workers I met are rightly proud of the products they make that help businesses and governments across the U.S. and throughout the world save money by lowering their energy bills.  And they are pretty excited about their role in creating a clean energy economy.

At the University of North Carolina Charlotte's William States Lee College of Engineering, which received grant money from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), students discussed the projects and work they are doing in energy-efficient and sustainable building systems design.  These students told me about their projects that are focused on tackling real world challenges to save energy and reduce pollution.  Through DoE's Recovery Act investments, we can help ensure that they receive an education second to none.

And in San Francisco, I joined Mayor Edwin Lee and Bay-Area clean energy technology manufacturers celebrating the expansion of a cleaner, smarter transportation infrastructure.  With help from investments by the Federal and local governments, the city's Green Vehicle Showcase, which features locally manufactured electric vehicles (EV) and their charging stations, highlights their expanding efforts to grow across the metro area throughout 2011.

Thanks to President Obama's commitment to invest in American schools, communities and, technologies, we're not just investing in factories, or in products.  We're investing in the spark and ingenuity of America's entrepreneurs.  We're investing in the jobs and futures of the American people.  And we're investing in our collective future as the United States of America. 

Article by Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality

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