As part of the Energy Department's launch of the Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative, Assistant Secretary David Danielson toured the new Carbon Fiber Facility at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Carbon fiber has the potential to improve the fuel efficiency of vehicles. | Photo courtesy of Jason Richards, Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Today, I announced the Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative at the ribbon cutting of a new facility that I believe represents the kind of strong public-private partnerships we will need to build to ensure American leadership in clean energy manufacturing: the Carbon Fiber Technology Facility at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

The Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative aims to:

  • Increase U.S. competitiveness in the production of clean energy products -- a key economic opportunity for America to innovate, compete and lead the way in a growing global marketplace.
  • Increase manufacturing competitiveness by increasing energy productivity in the U.S. manufacturing sector. This includes the use of advanced manufacturing technologies, implementation of energy efficiency measures, the capture of combined heat and power opportunities and taking advantage of low-cost natural gas to help American manufacturers across the board compete in the global marketplace.

Helping U.S. manufacturers succeed in the global marketplace is one of my top priorities here at the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. During the State of the Union last month, President Obama re-emphasized the Administration’s commitment to American manufacturing, declaring that “Our first priority is making America a magnet for new jobs and manufacturing.” The clean energy sector represents one of the most promising areas for the United States to re-invigorate its manufacturing base and create good paying American jobs.

In this vein, the U.S. faces a stark choice: the energy technologies of today and tomorrow can be invented and manufactured in America or we can cede global leadership and import those technologies from other nations. We must seize this unique opportunity in time to ensure U.S. manufacturing competitiveness in the clean energy sector and take advantage of energy saving practices and low-cost domestic energy resources to advance the competitiveness of our manufacturing sector across the board.

And that is what we at the Energy Department are trying to do. After decades of targeted investments by the Department in American clean energy innovation, we have made tremendous progress, and we are in the unique position where a wide array of technologies -- from solar power, wind power and electric vehicles to energy-efficient LED lighting and biofuels -- are within five to 10 years of being directly cost-competitive without subsidies.

Pushing the U.S.’s competitive advantage in clean energy manufacturing is an effort that the Department can’t do alone. A central element of the Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative will be critical partnerships with the thought leaders, manufacturers, innovators, government agencies, universities, state and municipal offices and others, who have been active in growing manufacturing competitiveness or who have a shared vision for its realization. To learn more about the Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative, I encourage you to check out our website at: