We spend $600,000 a minute on foreign oil, much of that money going to countries that we might not want to be doing business with if we had a choice. And Israel, just like our country, is very interested in developing alternative energy so that we can cut our dependence on foreign oil and enhance our own security as well as Israel’s security.
Mr. President, last winter I visited the new headquarters of Great River Energy, one of the biggest electric co-ops in Minnesota to talk about renewable energy. Great River is building a new energy-efficient office complex in the suburb of Maple Grove, Minnesota. But what I remember best about this day is the huge wind turbine that towers over the building and the way its blades were rotating in those January winds. This is literally in the middle of a suburban shopping mall. It might seem odd that a company would put a wind turbine in the suburbs of the Twin Cities, but, in fact, it has become a landmark for the commuters who drive past each morning and evening.
It might seem even more odd that an electric utility would erect the symbol of green energy in front of its new headquarters. But what Great River understands and what that wind turbine symbolizes is that clean, alternative energy represents a huge opportunity for our country. Great River is not alone among utility companies who can see the great future before us. Exel Energy, based in the Twin Cities and in Colorado, already gets more than 10% of its power from wind. It has pledged to generate 30% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2025 and reduce its carbon emissions by more than 20% over the next 12 years.
In fact, Exel was supportive of our bipartisan state legislation that basically put in place one of the most aggressive renewable standards in the country. Exel's CEO Dick Kelly recently said that Exel intends to push it to the max. But it would be nice, he said, to have a policy at the federal level, a national policy, so we all know what the rules are. Mr. President, as we prepare to debate the landmark climate change legislation that will come before us in a few weeks, I hope we will keep these two examples in mind, because here’s what they show us: global climate change represents a world of challenges but it also represents a universe of opportunities for American business to develop new products and technologies, for consumers to save money on their energy bills, for America to achieve greater energy security and independence. First, there are opportunities for consumers.
The National Academy of Sciences has estimated that American motorists were able to cut their gasoline consumption by almost 15% annually as a result of the last fuel economy standards that congress enacted in 1975. Standards that also reduced the emission of greenhouse gases. The new CAFE standards that we adopted in December will not only further slow the emission of greenhouse gases, they will also save the average consumer as much as $1,000 a year at the gas pumps. And we're developing the technology to take these efficiencies even further and make savings at the pump even greater. The opportunities lie not only in producing cheaper and renewable sources of fuel, including cellulosic ethanol, the next generation of ethanol, but in making our vehicles more efficient. Increased efficiency is perhaps our greatest opportunity to stretch a family's energy dollar. $4-a-gallon gasoline stretches a lot further than it will -- than it does when you take your car 50 miles instead of 25 per gallon. The next generation of hybrid cars as well as the development of cars powered by other renewable sources, such as electricity or hydrogen, open a new world of opportunity for the American consumer, an opportunity for innovative American companies to be at the forefront, an opportunity to reduce our environmental impact and to reduce our dependence on foreign oil then there's electricity.
If every American household replaced just one light bulb with a compact fluorescent bulb, the country would save $600 million in annual energy costs. The nation would save enough energy to light 3 million homes for a year and we would prevent greenhouse gas pollution equivalent to the emissions of more than 800,000 cars. So if every American home just replaced one light bulb with an Energy Star qualified bulb, we would save more than $600 million prevent greenhouse gas equivalent to the emission of more than 800,000 cars. But there's also an opportunity for business here in addition to consumers. Let me give you some examples.
The Safeway grocery chain decided recently to install solar panels on 23 of its supermarkets to provide energy for heating, cooling, and electricity. They estimate that they will cut their electricity costs by 20% and that they will remove 12.6 million pounds of carbon emissions every year. General Electric, one of the biggest corporations in the world, has moved aggressively into what it calls green products, such as energy-efficient appliances and components for wind turbines. Its sales of green products have doubled since 2005 to $12 billion, and the company aims for $20 billion of green product sales by 2010. This is our building a bridge to the next century, Mr. President.
And in my home state, the state of Minnesota, in the town of Starbuck, Minnesota, there is a small company called solar skies. There are just 10 employees at solar skies, but those 10 people decide take a risk, to leave their jobs and go to work for a place that makes solar panels. These employees are devoted to the idea that we can create a new energy future for all of us. They believe in their work and are now reaping the benefits of the opportunity created by this new green economy. When I visited them, they actually had me jump up and down on the solar panels, Mr. President, to show that they could withstand hail damage. I’m sure that they could welcome the presiding officer to do that as well, from the great state of Montana. And clearly, the people at solar skies are not the only ones to understand the opportunity.
If you look at the leading indicator of American investment, venture capital, you will find that it reached $2.9 billion of investments in green technologies last year, up 78% from a year earlier. Clean technology is not only the fastest-growing portion of the venture capital market, it is now the third-largest category behind only biotech and computer software.
So today we have to ask ourselves, does the United States want to be a leader in creating the new green technologies and the new green industries of the future? Are we going to sit back and watch the opportunities pass us by? I’m determined that we will be a leader. As you know, this is my third speech on climate change. Every week up to the debate I’m going to give one. The first was an overview. The second one was about leadership and the needs to push this country forward and to be a world leader on this climate change issue and on technology. Today -- today -- we are talking about the possibilities of new jobs for this country. For our country as a whole, this is also an opportunity to create an energy-secure future, to free our country from its dependence on foreign oil. We spend literally $41 million every hour on imported oil, and much of the money simply goes back to countries who are not our friends.
The Council on Foreign Relations recently studied this question -- and they said -- this is the council on foreign relations -- "America’s dependence on imported energy increases its strategic vulnerability and constraints its ability to pursue foreign policy and national security objectives. The lack of sustained attention to energy issues is undercutting U.S. foreign policy and U.S. national security." but the report also con concluded that a determined conservation effort could unleash remarkable forces for innovation in this country. The report said entrepreneurs are seeking new ideas for products and services such as batteries, advanced oil and gas exploration and protection techniques and biofuels. By reducing our emissions of greenhouse gases through conservation and new technologies we can reduce our use of imported oil and leave our country in a stronger international position.
This isn't just wishful thinking. It has worked before. Conservation initiatives enacted after the first OPEC oil embargo reduced the oil intensity of our country, saving our country the equivalent of 15 million barrels of oil per day. Today a comprehensive policy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including higher fuel standards for cars and trucks, development of clean alternative sources of energy and better energy-efficient standards for buildings coon do this.
Look at the Chevy Volt, Mr. President. Two years from now it will be available for purchase. Projected 30 miles -- you can plug your car in, you get 30 miles and then it transitions over to fuel so, in other words, if you're driving through Montana or Minnesota and it's 10 below zero and you're done with your 30 miles, it's not just going to stop. It transitions over to fuel. And hopefully that will be alternative fuel. We can cut our oil consumption, Mr. President, by as much as 35% by 2030, more than offsetting the oil that we import from OPEC today, just by putting in place these higher fuel economy standards for cars, developing clean alternative sources of energy and better energy-efficient standards for our buildings.
A study last year by the McKinsey Global Institute concluded that projected electric consumption in American homes in 2020 could be reduced by more than a third if high efficiency measures were adopted nationwide, including light bulbs, water heaters, room insulation materials and stand-by power. But here's what's interesting. The report warns that market forces alone, even with higher energy prices, would not be sufficient to make the most of these energy-efficient technologies. What’s required is leadership from Washington, leadership from this chamber, and leadership from the white house.
A new national strategy to wean the country from fossil fuels, to reduce our emission of greenhouse gases and to set the stage for this new energy. This is the heart of the climate change legislation that will come before us in just the next few weeks, a strategy to cap and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, then use a cap-and-trade most of these energy-efficient technologies. What’s required is leadership from Washington, leadership from this chamber, and leadership from the White House. A new national strategy to wean the country from fossil fuels, to reduce our emission of greenhouse gases and to set the stage for this new energy.
This is the heart of the climate change legislation that will come before us in just the next few weeks, a strategy to cap and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and then use a cap-and-trade how do they thrive in a warmer world? How do they survive in a more dangerous world? The answer is in making the most of the economic and techno logic opportunities to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and the grease house gas pollution that comes from it. And the greenhouse gas pollution that comes from it.
Freidman said the technology is going to be the next great global industry. He goes on to promote the green new deal, one in which the government is providing loan guarantees where needed and setting standards and incentives and taxes that will spawn all kinds of new technologies. We’re trying to do that right now with the wind tax credit, the renewable tax credit, for geothermal, for solar and other kinds of renewable energy. I believe that this isn't all about cutting back or hunkering down. It’s about seizing opportunities. In his words it's about creating a new cornucopia of abundance for the next generation by inventing a whole new industry. It's about getting our best brains out of hedge funds and into innovations that will not only give us the clean power industrial assets to preserve our American dream, but also give us the technologies that billions of others need to realize their own dreams without destroying the planet. It’s about making Americans safer by breaking our addiction to a fuel that is powering regimes deeply hostile to our values. And finally, it's about making America the global environmental leader is if instead of a laggard.
Opponents of the Warner-Lieberman climate change bill would say we can't do this because it will somehow cripple our economy. I say we cannot afford not to enact climate change legislation because global warming will cripple our economy. A recent economic study commissioned by the pew center on global climate change concludes that under at least one scenario, higher temperatures could cut more than $100 billion of American economic output over the next century, largely because of damage to agriculture, forestry and commission fishing. Now look at this, Mr. President.
The temperature in the last 100 years up one degree. It doesn't sound like much until you realize it's gone up only five degrees since the height of the Ice Age. Our EPA using well-sounded scientific data, projects that the temperature in the next century will go up three to eight degrees. So this idea that we could lose $100 billion off American economic output over the next century is not some far-flung idea -- it's based on scientific research.
Unless we confront this problem and confront it now, those costs will go higher and higher. And we will also miss the opportunity for new products and technologies, new consumer savings and a more responsible climate change policy. It’s a big challenge, but meeting challenges is what our country does best. Just look at history. When the space race began with the launch of sputnik in October of 1957, American citizens listened with indignation and fear as the first manmade satellite, a soviet satellite, beeped its way around the earth. Yet, it inspired our nation and its universities to make an historic investment in math and science education.
Within a decade our country tripled the number of science and engineering PHDs. Tripled them. In 1961, President Kennedy issued a challenge to our nation: put a man on the moon by the end of the decade. We answered the call. And on July 20, 1969, what seemed impossible became reality when Neil Armstrong took that giant leap for mankind. But the space program wasn't just a success because we put a man on the moon before the soviets.
It also spurred countless other innovations and industries. And I love saying this in front of our pages, Mr. President, because I think they weren't born when this happened. To them this is commonplace, but back then we didn't have these things. And this is what this spurred. It spurred industries and innovations such as weather satellites, solar technologies, digital wristwatches, ultra sound machines, infrared medical technologies, satellite TV broadcasts, high-density batteries, high-speed, long-distance telephone service, automatic insulin pumps, CAT Scans, GPS devices, and those little chocolate space sticks that my family will take when we went on camping trips in the 1970's.
That all came out because we had a president that said we have a national goal. We’re all part of the same nation. We’re going to reach the goal. We can do the same thing with climate change and energy independence. Today it is not a Russian satellite streaming across our skies that should galvanize our nation into action. it is the multiplying smoke stacks in China and it is the receding glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica, and it is being leapfrogged from countries like Brazil who are fuel-independent because their country put in place a policy called biofuels. Just as sputnik spawned opportunities, these trends can lead to opportunities for the strengthening of our economy and renewing our leadership in the world.
And in doing so, we will create a better economy for the next generation by developing whole new industries which will not only help us preserve our American leadership in the world, but will also help to deploy technologies that billions of others need to realize their own dreams without destroying the planet. I believe we have the responsibility to confront a grave threat to our environment and our health. I believe we have the opportunity to do a great service to the people of this country. I believe that before us now we have the opportunity to make our economy stronger and more efficient. But it is rare that we have the opportunity to accomplish all three at once to accomplish so many good things in just one bold stroke. This rare opportunity will come before us in just a few weeks when we take up the landmark Lieberman-Warner bill to address a challenge of global climate change. We must seize that opportunity.