December 12, 2009

Bright Green Expo: Day One

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke (Bio)

Secretary Locke delivers opening remarks at Bright GreenToday was undoubtedly the highlight of my trip to Copenhagen.

I just returned from the Bright Green Forum, which is a showcase of the most exciting technologies for creating a cleaner more energy efficient world.

There were dozens of American companies at this exhibition, demonstrating an array of energy technologies that seemed straight out of the Jetsons.

There was a company demonstrating a technique for harnessing energy from algae.

Yet another was showing how they installed the largest photovoltaic solar laminate system in the state of Florida.

Still others are leading the world in providing increased energy efficiency in the office and the home -- – which is especially important because over 60 percent of America’s electricity use comes from constructing, heating and cooling our buildings.

I walked out of this exhibition with an overwhelming feeling of optimism. Because when you see the unbelievable innovations that American companies are pioneering, you begin to understand that a clean energy economy is not a goal to be reached at some distant future.

It is here now within our reach, if only we can find the political will to grasp it.

Secretary Locke tours the exhibit floor at Bright GreenThe challenge of mitigating climate change and scaling up clean energy is simply too big for government or the private sector to handle alone. We’ve each got to do our part.

Government needs to create the right rules, incentives and regulations to empower entrepreneurs and businesses to bring clean energy solutions to market.

Governments can set big goals to achieve emissions reductions or renewable energy targets. But how we meet those goals will have to be determined by the private sector.

After walking through the Bright Green Forum, I'm left with little doubt that private sector innovators and entrepreneurs are up to the challenge.

Now, governments must show that they are up to the occasion.

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