Thousands of SPI attendees yesterday turned up to hear Bill Clinton talk. In an impassioned speech, he stated, "You are the true pioneers and entrepreneurs of America." He went on to underline the success story of the photovoltaics industry in the U.S., mentioning the creation of 100,000 new jobs, a yearly growth rate of 8% in the recession, lower system prices and higher efficiency, all of which have contributed important measures in the fight against global warming.
"The problem is that most Americans who are not in this hall at SPI don’t know that," lamented Clinton. For this reason, he said it is necessary for the industry to strengthen its communication about both the success story and the benefits of photovoltaics. "You can be proud of yourself and get the positive facts out there," he said.
This communication is necessary, he continued, in order to counter the billions of dollars invested by traditional energy industries, like oil and coal, in their lobbying work.
Clinton also pointed to the ongoing high subsidies for fossil fuels and nuclear energy in the U.S. "For every dollar which is invested in clean energy, we are paying 22 dollars subsidies for oil, coal and nuclear," he said.
He further underlined the "success stories" of countries like Germany, Denmark and Sweden in the field of renewable energies and energy efficiency. If its not careful, he warned, the U.S. will fall behind and lose its international competitiveness.
Watch out for more news from the SPI later today.
Edited by Becky Beetz.