ON A RECENT congressional delegation to Hong Kong, I toured a factory that is developing a thin solar cell that can be put on windows to generate electricity from the sun with zero carbon emissions. I thought of 1366 Technologies, a company in Lexington that is also racing to get advanced solar technologies to market.
It may seem like your typical competition between two companies, but this race is about much more than the solar market. It is about the race for trillions of dollars in clean-energy investments. As President Obama says, “the nation that leads in 21st-century clean energy is the nation that will lead the 21st-century global economy.”
And if we win the race, it could bring 150,000 new jobs and billions of dollars to Massachusetts.
American companies would get an edge with passage of the Waxman-Markey bill, the most sweeping energy legislation Congress has considered in a generation. The plan would end America’s dangerous dependence on foreign oil, increase the amount of clean energy we produce, make our buildings, homes, cars, and trucks more efficient, and cut the harmful carbon pollution causing global warming.
The bill requires that 20 percent of our electricity in 2020 come from clean-energy sources like solar or wind, or from energy efficiency. It establishes “clean-energy innovation hubs” around the country to help researchers and inventors move their ideas from the lab to the market.