What do a Hip Hop Artist, a NBA player, a University President, and a Congressman have in common? STEM of course! Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics–STEM is the fuel that drives U.S. competitiveness by inspiring innovation and fostering creativity. It also holds the key to our country’s future economic prosperity.
My sister, Tenderly Diaz, gets a lot of opportunities as a STEM Champion working with the HUD STEM Innovation Network, such as travelling from our home in Hampton, Virginia to our state capitol, Richmond, or to Indiana or Georgia. Because I would like to travel and meet new people, I decided to follow in her footsteps.
The Department of Energy's (DOE’s) scientific and technical capabilities are rooted in its system of National Laboratories—17 world-class institutions that constitute the most comprehensive research and development network of its kind. The first Annual Report on the State of the DOE National Laboratories describes the DOE National Laboratory System, its role in advancing the frontiers of science and technology, and efforts to ensure it continues as a national resource for the Department’s near- and long-term missions.
As a recently appointed Ambassador to the Minorities of Energy initiative, I was delighted to be invited by the Director of The Office of Economic Impact and Diversity, Dr. LaDoris Harris, to attend an official launch of Girls of Energy on December 9th 2016 at Excel Academy, the first all-girls charter school in Washington DC. This e-learning initiative has been designed to ignite curiosity and engage young minds across the globe by spotlighting exceptional women who are conquering today’s energy challenges and creating tomorrow’s technology solutions.
These events brought together members of Congress, governors, other federal, state, tribal, and local officials, academic leaders, private sector energy leaders, DOE officials, and other stakeholders from economic development organizations and nongovernmental organizations to examine clean energy technology innovation from a regional perspective.
Analysts at the Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have used detailed light detection and ranging (LiDAR) data for 128 cities nationwide, along with improved data analysis methods and simulation tools, to update its estimate of total U.S. technical potential for rooftop photovoltaic (PV) systems. The analysis reveals a technical potential of 1,118 gigawatts (GW) of capacity and 1,432 terawatt-hours (TWh) of annual energy generation, equivalent to 39 percent of the nation's electricity sales.
With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), Michigan State University materials scientist and chemical engineer Richard Lunt and his team are developing transparent solar panels that could be retrofit to cover existing windows instead of replacing them. With the square footage of glass that's on skyscrapers and other buildings, the tremendous potential for energy and cost savings is clear!
For an advanced economy such as the United States, innovation is a wellspring of economic growth and a powerful tool for addressing our most pressing challenges as a nation – such as enabling more Americans to lead longer, healthier lives, and accelerating the transition to a low-carbon economy. In fact, from 1948-2012 over half of the total increase in U.S. productivity growth, a key driver of economic growth, came from innovation and technological change.
In 2009 the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) and the Breakthrough Institute collaborated to complete the report, Rising Tigers, Sleeping Giant, which benchmarked the clean energy competitiveness of China, Japan, South Korea, and the United States in order to emphasize the importance of innovation as a driver of economic competitiveness.
Addressing global climate change requires clean energy technologies that are cost- and performance competitive with fossil fuels without subsidies. Characterized by carbon prices, subsidies, and mandates, the dominant clean energy policy approaches in the United States and internationally are not likely to meet this goal. Only a cohesive and aggressive innovation strategy can produce the needed and rapid development of affordable clean energy options the entire world wants to purchase.