Biden promotes private sector clean energy investments

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Private sector investors should do more to boost spending on clean energy technology, Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenSanders: 'Terrible idea' to turn to Biden if Clinton is indicted Clinton urged to go liberal with vice presidential pick Biden will host cancer research summit in DC MORE said on Tuesday. 

The White House announced $4 billion in private sector pledges on Monday to support green technology and launched a new Department of Energy (DOE) program to facilitate research and development. Speaking at a White House clean energy summit, Biden said more needs to be done — from the government, but especially among private investors — to create new low-carbon energy technology.

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“Only with the private sector can we fully or even mostly realize the opportunities of this energy transformation. Government can’t do this, government can’t do this alone,” Biden said. “Our energy future is in cleaner, cheaper renewable energy, and all of you understand that clean energy investments have provided financial and social returns.”

Biden highlighted the work the Obama administration has done on clean energy, including spending on energy programs and tax credits for carbon-free energy sources. Energy prices for solar and wind — and their share of the energy generated in the U.S. — have improved since 2009, Biden said. 

He also knocked congressional Republicans for proposing spending cuts to energy efficiency and renewable energy programs.

“Just as we got, in this transformative moment, off the ground, by ramping up private and federal investment, once again — some shortsighted decisions from the outfit I worked in for a long, long time — up on the hill, they’re ramping it down as fast as you all ramped it up,” Biden said.

Part of the solution, he said, is more private sector spending on new clean energy technology.

The Obama administration attracted $4 billion in commitments from would-be clean energy investors, the White House announced on Monday. The pledges are twice what officials had hoped they would receive in February when they launched their Clean Energy Investment Initiative, which they said will help encourage spending on new low-carbon technology among investors who are both concerned about the environment and looking for a financial return. 

“It’s not only the morally right thing to do, it’s not only in the interest of our national security,” Biden said. “It’s a smart economic play.”

The speech was Biden’s first public remarks since the funeral for his son, Beau, who died last month. 

“This is a critical moment for our country, not only for us but more importantly for our children and grandchildren,” he said. “If we don’t seize the moment now, I hope there’s never a point of no return but, man, we are getting closer.”