Hundreds of business and education leaders gathered at the University of Delaware’s Clayton Hall for a two-day conference focused on creating the clean energy economy.
Sessions focused on the role of manufacturing and the labor force as well as accelerating energy efficiency.
DuPont CEO Ellen Kullman addressed the group, talking about the Wilmington-based companies plans to expand manufacturing and sales of solar power and wind power components, as well as biofuels. She says the future energy economy will come from a variety of sources and DuPont researchers are working to make that future a reality. “It’s becoming an increasingly important part of the DuPont company, the kinds of technologies that we’re discussing. And one of the reasons that it is becoming increasingly important is because of the population growth that we’re seeing in the world, and the stressors that that puts on the world.”
Kullman says the photovoltaic and solar energy industry is expected to grow from a $60-billion industry this year, to a $75-billion in 2012. She says the wind power industry is expected to be an $83-billion industry by 2017.
Senator Chris Coons (D) also addressed the group and said the way forward must be done by collaboration. “It will take a critical coordinated effort for us to succeed,” Coons says. “We just can’t do this anymore at a state by state level, or even region by region.” Coons says history will judge today’s leaders by how they respond to the challenges of creating the clean energy economy. “This is the moment at which we will either make the decisions that make our national security, our balance of payments, our leadership in innovation and manufacturing something that we secure for future generations. Or, where future generations look back on it and say, ‘They could not get over their internecine fights, their internal squabbles, and their pirating one state to the other for opportunities.”