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Following President Barack Obama’s vow to prioritize energy innovation and infrastructure in yesterday’s State of the Union address, U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu held an online town hall meeting during which he further explained the administration’s stance on clean energy.

“Today we are once again seeing the benefits for the American people that come with federal investments in science and innovation,” Secretary Chu said. “With this new agreement, battery technologies developed at the Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory are making their way into the market. By supporting American innovation, commercialization and manufacturing, this partnership is helping to boost U.S. competitiveness and create the jobs of the future.”

Secretary Chu added that continuing business as usual will have a devastating effect on the entire world and echoed President Obama’s emphasis on clean energy efforts. With the President proposing to spend more than $8 billion on the field, Chu said that the nation’s overall prosperity depends on the clean energy race.  So, what does this mean for you and for EcoCAR?

For one thing, it means more jobs. One of the administration’s goals is to have 1 million advanced technology vehicles on the road by 2015 and these vehicles aren’t going to design, engineer and manufacture themselves! To turn this ambitious goal into a reality, the auto industry will be looking to the next generation of engineers, especially those with AVTC experience like EcoCAR alumni! Just imagine – within a matter of years, team members currently competing in EcoCAR: The NeXt Challenge could be steering the auto industry into an era of not only clean energy vehicles, but ones that are highly functional with broad consumer appeal.

More information about Secretary Chu’s statements can be found here or you can view the replay video embedded below.


Today’s town hall was the first in the year-long “Energy Matters” series in which DOE experts will address issues raised by the public. You can ask energy-related questions via email, Facebook and Twitter and have them answered live online. Stay tuned for the next one!

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Following this week’s State of the Union address, U.S. Secretary Energy Steven Chu will host an online town hall to discuss President Obama’s clean energy agenda tomorrow, Wednesday, January 26th at 12:45pm ET.

Join the online town hall that is hosted on the U.S. Department of Energy’s website by visiting energy.gov/livechat. Devoted to designing, building, developing and enhancing environmentally responsible autos, the EcoCAR community should capitalize on this valuable opportunity to hear directly about the clean energy agenda, straight from the source, and ask questions about how the agenda will affect AVTCs like EcoCAR and let’s not forget the impact on your future livelihoods!

If you have questions for the Secretary ahead of tomorrow’s event, please email them to newmedia@hq.doe.gov, post them on DOE’s Facebook page, or tweet @energy with the hashtag #chu.

You will also have the chance to ask additional questions during the live event. Talk it over with your EcoCAR team, what questions are you most eager to hear Secretary Chu answer?

Don’t miss Secretary Chu as he answers your questions LIVE online at energy.gov/livechat on Wednesday (tomorrow!) at 12:45pm ET.

Yesterday in a speech at the National Press Club, U.S. Secretary of Energy, Dr. Steven Chu compared the 1957 Sputnik “Space Race” between the U.S. and the Soviet Union to the current challenges the U.S. is facing as countries like China rapidly innovate in the area of energy technology.

U.S. Secretary of Energy, Dr. Steven Chu. Image courtesy of the U.S. Department of Energy.

Secretary Chu posed a central question that should resonate with EcoCAR teams, sponsors and enthusiasts – Will we maintain America’s innovation leadership or will we fall behind? During the speech, he stated that “America still has the opportunity to lead the world in a new industrial revolution and secure our future prosperity, but time is running out. Federal support of scientific R&D is critical to our economic competitiveness.”

How does Secretary Chu propose we secure an innovation leadership role for the United States? First, increase the support of energy R&D. Second, formulate sensible, long-range energy policies that have bipartisan support.

Innovations in energy technology, like those that come from competitions like EcoCAR, can generate significant and quantifiable public benefits, which are not presently recognized or rewarded by the free market. For the U.S. to remain competitive in the world of innovation, federal support of scientific R&D is imperative.

Watch Secretary Chu’s speech here.

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