Energy secretary uses 'The Avengers' movie to tout clean-energy agenda

Energy Secretary Steven Chu has been trying to get people to care about renewable energy for years. But the Nobel laureate pulled out all the stops Friday on his Facebook page.

Chu compared the global race to develop clean-energy technology to “The Avengers,” the blockbuster superhero movie that centers around a fight over a fictional energy source known as the “Tesseract.”

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“While the 'Tesseract' may be fictional, the real-life global competition over clean energy is growing increasingly intense, as countries around the world sense a huge economic opportunity AND the opportunity for cleaner air, water, and a healthier planet,” he wrote Friday afternoon on his Facebook page.

Chu noted that he “can rarely find the time to make it to the movies” but that his staff had been “buzzing” about the film. An Energy Department spokeswoman confirmed that he has not yet seen the movie.

The Energy secretary made the economic case for making major investments in renewable energy, noting that it is a $260 billion global market.

“Given how big the opportunity is, and how fast it is growing, it is no surprise that 80 countries have adopted policies or incentives to capture a share of the clean energy market,” Chu said.

“The good news is that we have an advantage every bit as powerful as the Incredible Hulk: Americans’ talent for entrepreneurship and innovation is unrivalled [sic] by any other country in the world.”

But the United States must act quickly to take advantage of renewable energy’s potential, Chu said.

“Ultimately, however, the clean energy prize is still up for grabs and countries like China are competing aggressively,” he said. “It’s not enough for us to simply invent the technologies of the future, we need to actually build and deploy them here as well.”

Chu used his Facebook post to plug one of President Obama’s top energy policy priorities: extending expiring renewable energy tax credits. An extension of the tax credits “will create jobs and help American companies compete,” Chu said.

“When it comes to clean energy, our motto should be: ‘Invented in America, Made in America, Sold Around the World,’ ” he added.

The Obama administration has made renewables a central focus of its energy platform, calling for major investments in wind and solar power.

But Republicans have taken aim at the investments, pointing to the collapse last year of solar firm Solyndra, which received a $535 million loan guarantee from the administration in 2009.