top ten solar companies in the world, one of the world’s top ten wind turbine companies, and two of the top ten advanced battery companies. The United States “led the development of not only the steel industry and other industries in the 1900s but [also] the electronics industry, the biotech industry, and the Internet. In clean energy, we are clearly behind the rest of the world.”
Innovation is the way to catch up, said Lane. His company has funded approximately 50 energy companies based on high-risk ideas. “I’m not in the subprime business, I’m in the sub-subprime business, because we loan money to people who have taken the ultimate risk.”
Lane listed five ways government could boost the competitiveness of the U.S. energy industry. First, government should establish a long-term price on carbon and cap carbon dioxide emissions worldwide. Without this price signal, it is difficult for private industry to know how the market is going to react or when an economic return will be possible. Second, new policies should be adapted to encourage utilities to drive efficiency, develop and use renewable sources of energy, and build a standardized, unified, smart electricity grid.