Bill Clinton: We need to boost the budget for energy

“The government should invest even more money in ARPA-E,” and “it would be a terrible mistake” not to boost the budget for energy, said former President Bill Clinton at the ARPA-E conference on Wednesday. On Tuesday Bill Gates expressed a similar sentiment onstage at the event, calling for a twofold increase in energy research and development spending.

The energy research budget is very limited compared to the size of the annual budget and the deficit, said Clinton. President Obama’s budget proposal calls for $350 million for the ARPA-E program, which places small-sized grants on early-stage research done by labs and startups. Clinton said he is “a huge fan of Obama’s energy strategy and Secretary of Energy.”

Clinton proposed the idea of an infrastructure bank for energy technology, which would take “a little money” from taxpayers, or “a few billion dollars,” and get corporations to invest the rest of the needed funds, enabling corporations to get good returns on their investments. Clinton also said “we need even more reliance on the military,” in terms of energy tech and that the government should also focus on getting energy-efficiency technologies installed.

Clinton, who is self-admittedly “technologically challenged,” started off his speech by saying, “I’m really here to say, go get ’em.”

Photo taken from The Clean Energy Summit