Hillary Clinton: America can be the world’s clean energy superpower

Hillary Clinton speaking at the 7th annual National Clean Energy Summit. Image courtesy of Katie Fehrenbacher, Gigaom.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says if the U.S. is willing to “make the hard choices” to address climate change and simultaneously invest more in clean energy infrastructure it could become “the clean energy superpower of the 21st century.” Clinton, who is thought to be a front runner for the Democratic candidate for president, made the remarks at the 7th annual National Clean Energy Summit, a clean energy-focused day long event organized by Nevada Senator Harry Reid.

Clinton called climate change “the most consequential, urgent and sweeping set of challenges” that the nation and the world faces. But Clinton was optimistic about how investing in fighting climate change can also create significant economic value: “The threat is real. But so is the opportunity.”

She pointed to how Nevada has invested in clean energy power generation — quintupling clean energy capacity since 2008 — while also drawing $5.5 billion worth of investments into the state. She also highlighted how Tesla, which just officially announced that its battery factory would be built in Nevada, was partly drawn to the state because Nevada had already invested in solar, wind and geothermal. Tesla plans to power its factory entirely with clean energy.

Hillary Clinton at the National Clean Energy Summit, Image courtesy of Katie Fehrenbacher, Gigaom.

Hillary Clinton at the National Clean Energy Summit, Image courtesy of Katie Fehrenbacher, Gigaom.

While Clinton talked about her husband’s work on climate change with the Clinton Climate Initiative, as well as the need to find new ways to support private sector investments in energy innovation, her underlying theme was that the U.S. needs to lead on both fighting climate change and developing and building out clean energy technology. “America’s ability to lead the world on climate change, hinges on us acting ourselves,” said Clinton.

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