Committee Grants Final Passage to Energy Legislation
(Washington, DC) Today, the House Committee on Science and Technology advanced two bills for consideration by the full House.
Energy storage technologies and industrial energy efficiency research and development were the focus of separate bills before the Committee. Last week, both of these bills were cleared by the Subcommittee on Energy and Environment.
H.R. 3776, the Energy Storage Technology Advancement Act of 2007 enhances the federal government’s role in research and development of advanced energy storage systems for stationary and vehicular applications – both of which could provide significant economic and environmental benefits if fully realized.
The bill was authored by full Committee Chairman Bart Gordon (D-TN).
“Advancing the field of energy storage technologies brings with it several environmental, economic and security-related benefits, and it is critical that the U.S. build up and maintain a competitive industrial capability in this sector,” said Gordon. “I am pleased that the Committee could work in a bipartisan fashion to establish this aggressive research program that is vital to advancing the development of energy storage technologies for use in electric drive vehicles and stationary applications; all with the goal of improving operation of our electricity delivery system, allowing for new electric drive vehicles, and more diversified electricity sources such as wind and solar power.”
This bill is intended to provide guidance and funding for research that accelerates the development of these technologies and leads to a robust domestic energy storage industry for both stationary and vehicular applications.
Ranking Member Ralph Hall (R-TX) said, “The Energy Storage Technology Advancement Act will help our country use energy more efficiently by establishing a program at DOE to develop energy storage devices for stationary and vehicular applications. I introduced similar energy storage legislation earlier this year, and I thank Chairman Gordon for including much of my language in this important bill.”
H.R. 3776 passed the Committee by voice vote. A Manager’s Amendment to the bill made some technical changes, and an amendment offered by Reps. Bob Inglis (R-SC) and Judy Biggert (R-IL) incorporated language on hydrogen research. Both amendments were accepted.
The Committee also passed H.R. 3775, the Industrial Energy Efficiency Research and Development Act of 2007.
The bill, authored by Subcommittee Chairman Nick Lampson (D-TX), would enhance the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Industrial Technologies Program (ITP) in its research to reduce energy use, improve the quality and quantity, and alternative resources of industrial feedstocks; and develop alternative energy sources to supply heat and power for energy-intensive industries. The ITP also serves as a training ground for the next generation of industrial energy engineers and auditors, supporting roughly 250 students a year in this field.
“The ITP is already widely recognized for producing a number of high quality market-ready technological advances that have saved industry billions in energy costs, consequently preserving American jobs,” said Lampson. “Unfortunately, we have seen the budget for this program drop rapidly in the last few years. We need to continue supporting this program while shifting the funding levels to reflect our priorities to ensure energy efficiency, environmental performance, and competitiveness through industrial efficiency research and development.”
ITP is considered by many to be one of DOE’s most effective programs at transferring technologies to the marketplace, with over 170 technologies reaching the commercial market. An estimated 13,000 U.S. manufacturing plants have been improved through ITP and nearly 5 quadrillion units of energy, equal to approximately $23 billion, have been saved since the program’s inception.
Despite the ITP’s success, funding levels reflect a dramatic shift in priorities away from industrial efficiency R&D. For fiscal year 2007 (FY07), the budget request for ITP was $45.6million, $11.3 million below its FY06 appropriation. In FY 2000, $175 million was appropriated for the program.
H.R. 3775 passed the Committee by voice vote. A Manager’s Amendment was offered and accepted, incorporating minor corrections and additions to the bill.