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Jimmy Carter’s place in alternative energy history

On this day 88 years ago in a small Georgia farming town, James Earl Carter Jr. was born. He would later be known as Jimmy Carter, the 39th president of the United States of America.

Carter would serve only one term in the White House and his effectiveness as commander in chief would be the subject of criticism and debate for years to come. But, whether one is a supporter or detractor of the former president, his legacy will be defined in large part by the creation of the U.S. Department of Energy.

Much of the 1970s was plagued by what would be referred to as the "Energy Crisis." Fuel prices soared, trade-in values on cars dropped and, for the first time, people really started to get concerned about the effects of the world's energy sources on the environment.

In a televised speech on April 18, 1977, Carter outlined several principles that American energy policy should be built on. Among those tenets were:

    •  Healthy economic and jobs growth must be spurred by the energy industry
    •  It must protect the environment
    •  It must work to conserve resources that are scarcest
    •  It must help develop new, unconventional sources of energy.

Jimmy Carter was the first president to emphasize the importance of innovation and devising new alternative energy technologies. This was the genesis for wind, solar and wave power programs that are now poised to make game-changing breakthroughs.

From making our cars more efficient and environmentally friendly with new methods for the bonding of battery terminals to metal soldering techniques that reduce the cost of solar power equipment, we are making real strides forward. For that, Mr. President, we wish you a Happy Birthday.

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