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Future of Energy: CEOs Weigh In from Summit

As the National Energy Summit kicks off in Washington, CEOs shared their insights with CNBC Wednesday on the future of energy and what it means for business.

Powering Up with Coal

"Coal is the fastest growing fuel that we've had for fossil fuels in the United States at 50 percent; that's enormous. The scalability of renewables today are about 2 percent ... If they quintuple, we'll have 10 percent of our nation being derived from renewables. People forget to do the math ... If you look at China, they're developing everything. And I think that's a very smart policy. And in the U.S., I think we need to do the same."

- Steven Leer, Arch Coal CEO

Blue Chips Take on Energy

"My company, Caterpillar , we're a pretty big player in this space. We're a leading provider of machines, engines and turbines to the development of— and natural gas resources here and around the world. We're a big producer of kilowatts, in fact the third largest after GE and Siemens ... We're investing a lot of money in clean energy." (GE is parent company of CNBC)

- Jim Owens, Caterpillar CEO

Nuclear Energy Part of the Future

"We feel that nuclear power has to be part of the energy complex going forward. The plants are in fact 20-40 years-old; there hasn't been one built in 20 years. In order to get a renaissance, we need all the supply chain issues to fall in place and develop a whole new manufacturing base that supports the build out of new nuclear plants as well as a new labor force that has to come along."

- Mayo Shattuck, Constellation Energy CEO

Making Energy Affordable

"We have to keep everything practical. My advice would be look for those who are being pragmatic and separate them from the pipers ... There's a lot of folks that say, 'Let a thousand flowers bloom in the energy space.' You know, there aren't that many flowers ... You're looking at the core of where energy comes from; you got the sun, you got the wind, you got vegetation and general for biomass. And then you have hydrocarbons and nuclear. There aren't that many solutions out there."

- John Hofmeister, founder & CEO for Citizens for Affordable Energy

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