Well, thank you. Professor Bankoff, Provost Bras, I’ll also acknowledge the Bank of America support of this symposium and also my monthly support of the Bank of America which is quite considerable with those credit cards bills.
But of course, I especially want to thank Senator Nunn, not just for that introduction but even more for his already referred-to enormous contributions. I’m going to pile on that. If I think in terms of the Department of Energy’s really core forward-looking missions for the country and for the President, there are really two at the highest level – a lot of enabling activities as well to support them, but fundamentally, it’s about our role in advancing a clean, secure and prosperous energy future, and secondly, nuclear security, both maintaining a reliable nuclear stockpile, even as we diminish its size, and trying to assure that nuclear weapons-usable materials do not fall into the wrong hands.
That defines Sam Nunn’s contributions over these last decades and, I might say, continuing into the future. So in many ways, Sam has really kind of laid out the agenda for us to – for us to pursue. Therefore, it won’t surprise you that we continue to seek his counsel. As he already mentioned, when I was at MIT, on the energy side of the agenda, we had – Sam was a very valued adviser, as he mentioned, with his friend, George Shultz, who was the chairman of our advisory board, Sam advising there.
And today’s remarks will focus on that energy agenda, but I’d be remiss in not referring as well to the nuclear security contributions that you all know that Sam Nunn as made over the years. And I’ll put a personal touch on it. Clearly, Sam, his colleague, Dick Lugar, put forward the incredibly important 1992 Nunn-Lugar program. I think it’s – first of all, to have done that in 1992 just as the Soviet Union and Russia was having its major difficulties showed tremendous foresight and understanding how we had to get ahead of that curve in terms of securing nuclear materials.
And little did I know of that when I went to the Department of Energy for my first-time on the track, which was in the second Clinton Administration term; I think when I went there, I probably thought I was going to spend more than I did on basic science and energy technologies, but in fact, the Russian nuclear materials agenda was so overwhelmingly important that it probably consumed 50, 60 percent of my time, time well-spent, I might say.
Indeed, one of the highlights there was that at the ongoing challenges of what was called megatons-to-megawatts program, which had started in 1993, shortly after Nunn-Lugar, all part of that thrust toward securing nuclear weapons and nuclear materials, 500 metric tons of highly enriched uranium from Russian weapons providing roughly 10 percent of U.S. electricity over a couple of decades, completed successfully last December in a 20-year collaboration. So that’s just one example of the kind of activity that was really initiated with Sam and, we could go on just to say, in terms of Russia, you know, helping to secure so many places.
But what I want to emphasize is that while that work with Russia was absolutely urgent, particularly in this decade, I would say the focus expanded dramatically to global work on that. And since the Pesident’s Prague speech, President Obama’s Prague speech in 2009, as an example, we have moved all of the HEU out of 12 countries and much more than that, but gives you a flavor of what’s going on.
In that context, I want to note that as you well know, in a place like Georgia Tech, or my former home at MIT, for that matter, or any of the great research universities of this country, we all know that ultimately, the students produced the most important outcome of what you all do. And in that context, I want to recognize Kelly Cummins who is here traveling with us. She is in the Office of the Secretary at Department of Energy. She got her master’s degree in 2000 from the Nunn school here in international affairs. And she has walked Sam Nunn’s talk for the last decade-plus. I think (she was) personally involved in the HEU removal from 10 of those countries, for example. She has been in Kazakhstan removing weapons: ivory-grade plutonium. She’s been on tarmacs in Libya removing HEU, and it’s a great example of, you know, how you have an impact greater than you realize in the sense that we don’t all get to track our students in this way and see what they’ve done.
One last comment I’ll make on that, and then we’ll turn to the subject of my remarks, but I just can’t avoid this discussion looking at Sam Nunn here. I mentioned Kelly’s being on the tarmac in Libya. That’s just one example of what has been over the last decade especially a large number of joint operations with Russia. She was loading a HEU onto a Russian plane to remove that HEU from Libya. Today we obviously have a very complex situation in the Ukraine, and I’m not going to get into that; we could spend the entire hour on that. But I just have to say that we have to hope that no matter how all of the issues surrounding the Ukraine play out, that we don’t have as collateral damage a significant slowdown of this critically important work of continuing to get hold of, to control, to eliminate when possible nuclear weapons-usable material around the world. It remains central certainly to our security and to that of just about everybody else in this globe.
So that’s a background. And again, this is all part of the continuing advice that we will seek from Sam Nunn in both the energy and the security arenas.
So that is at least one example of your work. Of course, you have 20,000 students – roughly speaking – more than 20,000 students. One of the great research universities here. As it was mentioned this morning, let me say as we head into our energy discussion that – in the R&D side, recognized leadership positions in critical technology areas: separations research – separating CO2, for example; combustion research with low emissions; extensive grid program, kind of beginning to end for a reliable grid operation; to cybersecurity; renewables, solar, solar energy – and I got to say – if I don’t say it later, I’ll say it now, maybe I’ll say it more than once – I remain very, very bullish on the future of solar energy going forward. So it’s just a terrifically important program.
What I will comment on today now – and hopefully, we’ll have some time for questions and discussion – is talk a little bit about President Obama’s and the Department of Energy’s approach to energy, technology and policy. As we go forward, I’ll discuss the RDD&D – research, development, demonstration and deployment portfolio. And then I’ll come and actually make a genuine announcement. You are all forbidden from using your smartphones to check the DOE website until this talk is over so that the announcement will be fresh because I think it – did it go out? It just went out on the website, so don’t look. Security will confiscate your smartphones if you do that.
So first of all, in terms of the energy portfolio, it’s been said many times but it deserves repeating that we are very much pursuing an all-of-the-above approach to energy and all-of-the-approach – -above approach to energy in a carbon-constrained world that I believe we must be heading to to avoid at least the more serious risks of climate change. “All of the above” is a phrase that does not gain the praise of everyone on the political spectrum. And some pretty strange bedfellows will join in their critique. But I want to emphasize “all of the above,” for this Administration, for me personally – and Sam kind of referred to it from the studies that I was involved in in my previous life at MIT – it’s not a slogan. It is a policy and a pathway to our clean, prosperous and secure energy future.
Look, I will say more about this, but you all know that we have had a shale revolution, not only in natural gas but also in oil production. We’ll come back a little more precisely. But what I want to say upfront, you cannot lose sight of the fact that we are doing that, we are increasing our hydrocarbon production with tremendous direct benefit to the economy while we have at the same time significantly reduced CO2 emissions. We have had the largest CO2 emissions certainly of any industrialized country. We’ve had a slight uptick recently, but we are still very, very close to the lowest CO2 emissions we’ve had in 20 years even as we have benefited from this hydrocarbon revolution. So what I want to talk a little bit about is how we – how we put all that together because it may not be immediately apparent how one pursues that.
In terms of the issue of putting climate change upfront as something that we must respond to in any sense of the word “prudence” – of course, we’ve had two IPCC reports just in the last weeks, including one last Sunday, that addressed specifically the issues of mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions and one prior to that addressing the issue of the impacts we are already seeing from global warming and therefore the needs to pursue adaptation strategies at the same that we are pursuing hopefully what will prove to be the more important approach of mitigation, but we must pursue both. I’m not going to go into the reports in detail, but you all I’m sure have seen the dramatically increasing confidence of the scientific community collectively over these last 10 to 15 years in terms of clearly articulating the risks and the impacts of global warming and climate change.
One of the things that we believe is certainly things like extreme events, extreme weather events, as predicted decades ago, would appear to be playing out before our eyes – very clearly, not assigning individual events to global warming but understanding the amplification aspects of global warming in terms of events like extreme storms, droughts, wildfires and various other events that we are seeing in front of us. So again, I would say that the basis of governing arguments about whether the confidence level is 99 percent or 95 percent is hardly a way for prudently addressing the risks that we have in front of us.
Now, another point that I would make is the report of last weekend on mitigation clearly spelled out that the next decade is critical. If we do not start taking even more stringent actions– the United States – again, we’ve had 8 or 9 percent decrease in CO2 emissions, hopefully on our path to 17 percent, which is our goal for 2020 as the ramp towards more significant CO2 reductions beyond that. But as the IPCC report pointed out, if we do not make progress in this decade and the decade after, it will be increasingly and extremely more expensive and difficult to reach the kinds of situations that we need to reach by mid-century.
That’s why we and the President – starting with the President – have insisted that we need to act now. I will talk later on about the President’s Climate Action Plan, which does have both mitigation and adaptation, that was put out last June. These reports only reinforce the important emphasis that report placed on both mitigation and adaptation. But what I’ll say is, right now, we have an extensive program of, again, pushing all of our energy sources forward towards a low-carbon future.
And we are doing that through administrative action using authorities that already reside with the executive branch. The President has made it very clear it would be preferable to work for legislative solution and, ultimately, in the long term, for very, very significant reductions. It’s hard to see how we can get there without legislative solutions. But in the meantime, we can’t wait. That’s the message. We cannot wait. And therefore, we will be pursuing certainly during this Administration as aggressively as we can the steps that we can take with existing authorities. So that’s, I think, a very, very important message. And the flipside of it is because it is based on administrative authorities, you should expect that we are executing, and we will continue to execute on this plan.
So let me say a little bit more about all-of-the-above. And I’ll spend a little bit more time on natural gas in particular; it’s the subject of this conference. I’ll just take one quote from the President’s State of the Union address of this year, and that is that “one of the biggest factors in bringing more jobs back is our commitment to American energy. The all-of-the-above energy strategy I announced a few years ago is working, and today America is closer to energy independence than we’ve been in decades.” As I said, that’s against the backdrop of decreasing CO2 emissions. So that captures, again, the economy, security and environment all together.
In terms of the administrative actions I referred to, many agencies are engaged. Of course, the most visible manifestation, one that gets certainly the most discussion these days, are the actions of the Environmental Protection Agency in terms of its proposed rules particularly with regard to coal plants as the most carbon-intense concentrated sources of CO2. But the responsibilities are very broad. The Department of Energy, certainly, they include everything, a wide spectrum, including things like standard setting for efficiency of appliances, electronics, et cetera. And those of you who follow this will note that we have really quickened the pace since the President’s action plan came out. There was a little hiatus called the government shutdown, but apart from that period, we have quickened the pace substantially. But of course, we remain very, very much focused as well on our core responsibility of energy technology development across the innovation spectrum, as I mentioned earlier, from research to deployment.
Now, let’s talk a little bit more about natural gas and the remarkable effect that it has had in our economy and our energy system. And we could spend the whole hour on this, but I want to move on to other aspects.
I think one of the important issues to mention is that certainly our Energy Information Administration projects that the kind of increase that we have been seeing in production – and we’re up to the high 60s billion cubic feet per day production –they project, given the energy resource data, that we will continue that climb for a long time. They are seeing us potentially reaching a hundred billion cubic feet per day of production. This is a lot of gas, just enormous.
Let me just mention two other facets of that. One is our fuels infrastructure isn’t really keeping up with our production. And that’s both for gas and oil. Indeed, I’ll mention one activity that we are carrying out this year. This is part of what’s called the quadrennial energy review that I won’t go into detail on, unless there are questions about it. But fundamentally, for this year the message is, we are bringing a large analytical capability to bear on looking at the energy infrastructure issues of transmission, storage and distribution of energy: that’s electricity, and its fuels.
And if you just think about what you see in the news – especially, let’s say, over the winter – you can see that we have a whole variety of energy infrastructure issues. New England, where I come from, had incredible price spikes in natural gas prices. Why? Well, for one thing, we’ve had in that part of the country a big shift towards natural gas for electricity. Of course, natural gas in some sense has the first call in the winter on heating people’s homes. And we have infrastructure bottlenecks. We need to look a solving those bottlenecks in an integrated fashion. It’s not only about gas pipelines. We had a discussion last night. It’s also about hydro from Canada, it’s about full switching. What we need is an integrated look at how we address these infrastructure issues. That is exactly what we are doing in this quadrennial energy review, looking at regional integrated solutions for various infrastructure bottlenecks.
But just as a reminder – we’re not going to dwell on it – but this past winter, we tend to forget these things quickly. It wasn’t that long ago, propane was an issue of life and death, especially in the Upper Midwest. In Atlanta, you may have some recollections of the polar vortex as well, as I recall. In fact, I recall speaking with Sam on the phone one day when he was I think isolated at home because you couldn’t get out, really, from the ice storm.
That propane issue was also an infrastructure question, because we have two big propane distribution hubs: one in Kansas, one in Texas. A huge price differential opened up because you couldn’t move the propane from Texas effectively up north. You read a lot about North Dakota, flaring gas. It’s a valuable commodity. Why? There isn’t the infrastructure to usefully deliver it. You read a lot about oil by railcar and what kinds of issues that raises. Don’t have the infrastructure. And so people have responded in a relatively quick way by using rail.
These are all infrastructure that need to be addressed. But it’s interesting, as these become addressed, I don’t how this will all turn out. Again, this is part of the analysis and the regional meetings that we will be having. But on the rail car issue, for example, for transporting oil, I think there, we tend to swing, and so in the popular press, it looks like we clearly want to get over that with a new infrastructure. However, if you talk to those in the business, they’re kind of becoming attracted to oil by rail car because it gives you more flexibility in going from point A to point B. And so for example, the very light oil out of the Bakken shale in North Dakota is finding its way to East Coast and West Coast refineries, which are better suited to that.
So all I’m saying it’s a complicated issue, and so that’s why we are moving to this complex integration of factors as we look at the regionally based energy infrastructure needs for our country. And I think the natural gas revolution really in some sense kicked off this strong focus on infrastructure.
Next point on natural gas: manufacturing. No question that the natural gas boom has had an amazing impact, frankly, on manufacturing. The President in the State of the Union noted that business plans to invest almost a hundred billion dollars in new factories that use natural gas. I always agree with the President, and I agree with his caution in being conservative, but I think it’s actually a bigger number. I think we’re talking $125 billion, $150 billion of new manufacturing investments associated with natural gas production and the relatively low prices that we enjoy here. This is quite enormous.
It also has opened up another big debate. And again, I will not resolve this here in real time, but the issue of exports, of natural gas tied up both with our manufacturing needs and the discussions that have currently of course been exacerbated around energy security and natural gas in other parts of the country, just a couple of points I want to make there.
One is that some are frustrated in what they consider to be a slow pace of the Department of Energy in terms of licensing. Well, slow/fast I guess is in the eye of the beholder. We have a responsibility to execute, by law, in terms of making public interest determinations for each license application. But what I want to stress is what is not emphasized, is the conditional approvals that we have given are 9.3 billion cubic feet per day, not including, by the way a just-issued approval for a smaller export from Alaska, but in terms of the lower 48, 9.3 billion cubic feet per day. Let’s put that in scale. By far the largest world’s exporter of LNG is Qatar; 9.3 billion cubic feet per day is a hair below their level of exports. So this is a substantial volume of gas. There are many more applications but it gives you an idea how our natural gas bounty certainly spills over into many, many other issues.
As far as our own energy security is concerned, you know, soon we will certainly be a net exporter of natural gas within a few years. We still – I mean, we still import some gas from Canada, for example, and we export gas to Canada, but fundamentally natural gas is not an area of insecurity directly for us. But what I want to emphasize is as we think about the bigger picture, the energy insecurity of our allies is a national security problem for us. And that obviously is a very relevant observation in the current context that’s going on in Europe. And I’m sure my good friend the ambassador from Kazakhstan will talk about – from Azerbaijan will talk about other options - that’s right, but it’s on the wrong side of the pond. But anyway, he will talk about the other options for diversification of natural gas supplies in Europe.
So I mentioned the manufacturing. I want to say again, in our program we are very committed to supporting innovative manufacturing. Partly it’s to take advantage of the natural gas revolution, but even more so it’s to position us with a key enabling manufacturing technology base for the future, implications for energy technology, but much more widely.
So the Department of Defense and Department of Energy have been leading so far the support for new manufacturing innovation hubs. We partnered with the Department of Defense to fund one in Ohio initially on 3-D printing. The Department of Energy has supported a second, headquartered by North Carolina State University in terms of – Georgia Tech, I can say – wide-bandgap semiconductors, and have it understood. And we have announced a third that’s now for competition on light-weight composite materials, and we will be announcing another later on this year. So again, it’s kind of an integrated view in terms of energy, manufacturing, environment, security and the – and the economy.
Natural gas is kind of the shale gas revolution when we started this story, but we should say a few words about unconventional oil, tight oil. Once again the story is we are producing much more than we have at least recently – in fact, more than we have in quite some time, and certainly for the first time in 20 years producing more crude oil than we are importing. This obviously has had a nice impact on our balance in trade, and the U.S. trade deficit fell to a four-year low in November, certainly not unconnected to this domestic energy production, while we are also seeing flat or even declining demand. So this is a major, major impact.
Now, we started out by talking about how we are focusing on developing our energy resources but still focusing on CO2 reduction. The message here is while our oil production has gone up substantially and we’ll probably get at least close to 10 million barrels a day within a few years – potentially higher but that’s our EIA mid-projection – but even as we do that, remain focused on lessening our oil dependence and therefore our emissions as part of that.
And there are three major thrusts. One is the efficiency of our vehicles. And of course the poster child here is what the President announced a few years ago in terms of essentially a doubling of our new vehicle efficiency standards, our CAFE standards, by 2025 to 54.5 miles per gallon. We are already seeing that impact in terms of new vehicle efficiency. And indeed, while natural gas substitution for coal has accounted for roughly half of our CO2 reductions, this impact of efficient vehicles has accounted for a good fraction of the other half.
The second thrust is alternative fuels. And here, well, the President mentioned natural gas in the State of the Union, but here we continue our work on, for example, advanced biofuels, cellulosic biofuels. We are seeing biorefineries now open up, cellulosic biorefineries. If we extrapolate to large-scale production with the technologies as they now stand, we think we are approaching kind of $3 a gallon. So we’ve got a little ways to go, but this is not like we’re in some different ballpark. We’re getting to that place.
The third area is electrification of vehicles. And there of course there are many issues – lightweighting of vehicles, et cetera – but battery costs remain probably the biggest driver at the moment. Once again, we should not lose sight of the progress. There were nearly 100,000 plug-in hybrids sold last year in the United States, which is the scale of 1 percent of the market. So it’s small, but it’s growing pretty rapidly: double from the previous year. And the battery costs have come down about a factor of two in the last four or five years. Another factor of two or three is what we need to really get, I think, more widespread commercial penetration, but that’s what we’re doing.
We are advancing these areas in a multiplicity of ways. One I will mention is through our loan program, which I will come back to. So this is on the deployment side. This is the “we can’t wait” part of the equation. So we have a large loan program, more than $32 billion deployed, $40 billion of remaining authority. One of the areas of deployment has been for advanced vehicles – over $8 billion of loan guarantees for vehicles, for Ford to retool for the efficient vehicles of the next several years. And EcoBoost engines have been a tremendous success story, also competitively. We have supported and attracted to the United States and Tennessee Nissan for what is currently the largest battery production plant in this country for vehicles. And we supported Tesla, a loan paid back nine years early and a tremendous success story now heading towards a substantial export market.
Other parts of the portfolio didn’t perform as well, but if you look at the portfolio overall, which is the way you are supposed to judge an investment portfolio, it has been a remarkable success just over 2 percent default rate, if you like, and only 10 percent of the loan loss reserve that Congress itself voted in. That’s just one of the tools we are using.
Let me try to maybe skip a little bit, speed to the end so we can have time for questions. Of course, again, technology work is critical. And as I said earlier, and I want to reemphasize: cost reduction. The goal of innovation in energy technology development, in my view, is almost pure and simple cost reduction, the reason being that in the energy space, most of what we are doing is providing the same energy services – heating, lighting, mobility – that we are producing with conventional technologies, but with a new technology that may be cleaner. So if you are not providing genuinely new services – as, for example, is relatively common, let’s say, in the IT world – then cost sensitivity is heightened. So cost reduction is critical.
On the renewables front, we have seen a doubling of solar and wind in the last four to five years. We expect another doubling in five years. Why are we seeing that? Sure, there’s some policy support, but cost reduction is central to this reality. By the way, in 2012, wind was the largest capacity addition to our system, over 40 percent. But in 2013, there was almost no deployment, and that’s because of the instability of our policy support.
The technology will continue to make progress. That’s going to be a constant. What we need to do is to get more stability on the policy side so that we don’t have these kind of ups and downs. But still, when you accumulate it, the progress wind has made has been remarkable.
PV, same kind of thing. I mean, if you go back 35 years, we’re talking about 1 percent of the costs of now of PV. We are well on our way below a dollar per watt for PV modules, on our way, we believe, to the goal that’s been set for many years of about 50 cents. In fact, it’s come to the point where a lot of what we need to do is to focus on the soft cost, the balance-of-system costs, et cetera, to make sure that the overall cost can get down into the dollar-a-watt frame.
Oh, I should have said, on wind, this year, in our proposal for the next year’s budget, for fiscal year 2015, we are strengthening now our commitment on our side in developing offshore wind. And so, for example, soon we will be having a down select to three offshore wind projects that we will be providing support for.
In the efficiency space, another technology story that’s pretty incredible is LEDs. They’re using about a sixth of the power of incandescents, 25 times the life, 25,000 hours projected life. These are now approaching a one-year payback period, and therefore it shouldn’t be surprising that we have gone from almost no deployment to 34 million fixtures. And it was only in last September, October where that number was 20 million. So it’s almost doubled in like seven and eight months.
So we should really be paying attention that this revolution of technology – it’s not 20 years in the future. I don’t think it’s 10 years in the future. It’s happening now, this revolution, and it’s not going to be, you know, always receding from us as we go forward.
So those are some of the progress. Now, I’ll just wrap by saying, again, in R&D – or RDD&D, as I said earlier – we will keep investing across the spectrum on the R&D side, which is more reflective of what goes on, for example, at Georgia Tech. We will keep filling that innovation pipeline.
At Georgia Tech itself, the department has many, many programs. I’ll mention one area: ARPA-E, which is a relatively new program established in 2009 that is where we really focus on a more entrepreneurial, high-risk, high-reward approach to research projects that we think are not too far from potential marketplace entry, which is why the program also complements its research support with a tech-to-market, project-by-project support. We think of ARPA-E as, you know, with a baseball analogy, kind of really swinging for the hills, going long-ball, just like Big Papi will do next month against the Braves. Oh, I’m sorry, I was a little aside. Did I say the world champion Red Sox? I forget about that.
But ARPA-E has now got 24 spin-out companies in a relatively short time. Up to 2012, the first awards have already attracted as much or more private capital, amplifying the initial awards. A bunch of projects here at Georgia Tech, from a graphene supercapacitor to a whole bunch of projects I think I’m going to be getting a direct briefing on these in the next hour or so, so I think I will try to move to the end of my remarks by returning once more to the loan program and the announcement that I said I would make and was just posted half an hour ago on our website.
So basically, again, our loan program is itself an “all of the above” program: renewables, efficiency, nuclear, fossil. In fact, on nuclear, some of you may have read in February we were not far from here, Waynesboro, Georgia, to close a loan with Georgia Power, Southern Company, for the Vogtle plants. This was a long time in the making. When the commitment was made, in 2010, it was really supporting the first-mover new nuclear plants in the country. We finally closed that loan.
I’ve already mentioned loans to the auto industry. We have a $8 billion program active right now for carbon-reducing fossil fuel technologies. And of course, we have had a major renewables focus with our loan program. Indeed, one of the success stories, doing what the program is supposed to do. We cannot change the market. We don’t have enough money to change the market. But what we want to do is to help the deployment of the early movers towards commercial-scale deployment.
So you take utility-scale photovoltaics. In 2009 there was none in the United States – let’s say 100 megawatts and bigger. Zero. Many projects moving in that direction, but 2009, 2010 in particular, you couldn’t get debt financing. This loan program supported debt financing for five utility-scale PV projects. They’re all performing, and they are now being succeeded by 10 projects with entirely private sector funding. That’s exactly the pattern we hope to see more and more, where we get first-movers going with some support, but if the private sector does not take over, whether it’s for domestic or for export potential, then of course we cannot – we cannot support the expansion of that market. But that’s an example that’s working.
A couple months ago, I was also very pleased to dedicate Ivanpah, which is one of the initial concentrated solar projects that the loan program supported. And it is pretty impressive to see thousands of mirrors and the towers of Mordor looking – glowing there. It’s pretty impressive, 400 megawatts of CSP. And again, we hope that that will be the beginning of deployments, many of which, in that case, will probably be in other countries around the sun belt of the world.
So today, what we announced is another new renewables and efficiency solicitation in our loan program. We expect to have approximately $4 billion issued, and in this time around we will be looking for now the next stage of the program in terms of bringing more and more co-investing into this approach.
So that is today’s announcement, we will be accepting proposals in any part of the renewables and efficiency space, but we did identify five key areas of maybe particular interest at the moment, but again, not exclusive: advanced grid integration and storage – maybe you have something here that you want to get out as a commercial entity – drop-in bio fuels – so not ethanol, but drop-in biofuels; waste-to-energy technologies; and enhancement of existing renewables facilities and just generally speaking, efficiency improvements to buildings, residential and especially commercial buildings.
So this is going to be the next solicitation. And this year we anticipate closing loans across all-of-the-above: nuclear we’ve already done, fossil, and renewables.
So in closing, let me just say that one final reason for this push, I mean, we’ve already talked about perhaps the main reasons, but another important one is we have global markets of scale developing right now in clean-energy technology. We don’t want to be at the back of the train. We want to be at the front of the train. The scale – one organization, Ceres, a nonprofit investment organization, a respected organization, has made an estimate, which is not shocking. Their projection is over the next, say, four decades, we’re talking about an on-average, something approaching a trillion dollars a year for clean energy infrastructure deployment. If you think about it, that’s not uncharacteristic of today’s scale of investment, about a half a percent of GDP over that period of time. But it’s a lot of money.
Those markets are forming. We want to be leaders for that, and in doing so, providing what the President often refers to as the ladders of opportunity for many in our society to get good jobs, and jobs that bring people up to the middle class. Over these last years the energy boom has been a principal source of those ladders of opportunity. And we want to keep that going forward, whether it’s in the oil and gas business or whether it’s developing these manufacturing technologies going forward.
And that’s why we are taking this “all-of-the-above” view and this integrated view of encouraging energy production, accelerating technology development, pushing on the educational needs that we have, to provide the workforce to capture those opportunities, programs that we have like women in clean, minorities in energy, to capture the full spectrum of our talents going forward. Georgia Tech is very important as one of our major research universities committed in these areas, and we will look forward to working with you to help accomplish this vision.
Thank you very much.