Subcommittee Clears Legislation on Energy Storage Technologies, Industrial Energy Efficiency R&D, Ocean Exploration
(Washington, DC) Today, the House Committee on Science and Technology’s Subcommittee on Energy and Environment today advanced three bills for consideration by the full Committee.
Energy storage technologies and industrial energy efficiency research and development were the focus of separate pieces bills before the subcommittee.
H.R. 3776, the Energy Storage Technology Advancement Act of 2007 was the focus of a subcommittee hearing on October 3. The bill enhances the federal government’s role in research and development of competitive energy storage systems for stationary and vehicular applications – both of which could provide significant economic and environmental benefits if fully realized.
The bill is authored by full Committee Chairman Bart Gordon (D-TN).
“Development of these technologies is critical as we transform our electricity and transportation sectors. My bill calls for a considerable investment in this area to aggressively move this technology forward and to support the expansion of our domestic industry to produce efficient high-capacity energy storage devices,” said Gordon.
As discussed during the subcommittee’s previous hearing, broad deployment of energy storage technologies can help to improve the operational efficiency and reliability of our electricity delivery system, and allow for more diversified electricity sources such as wind and solar power. Research in new battery systems will lead to vehicle models that reduce our dependence on foreign energy supplies, while addressing concerns about global climate change.
However, there is concern that the U.S. is falling behind in the race to develop and manufacture a wide range of energy storage technologies, and a significant effort is underway to build up a domestic energy storage industry for both stationary and vehicular applications. The bill is intended to provide guidance and funding for research that leads to a robust domestic industry in these areas.
H.R. 3776 passed the Subcommittee by voice vote and proceeds to mark-up consideration by the full Committee.
The subcommittee’s work on industrial energy efficiency R&D focused on H.R. 3775 entitled the Industrial Energy Efficiency Research and Development Act of 2007.
The bill, offered by Subcommittee Chairman Nick Lampson (D-TX), would enhance the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Industrial Technologies Program (ITP) in its research to improve the quality and quantity, and alternative resources of industrial feedstocks; and developing 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.
“If we want to maintain a competitive, domestic industrial economy we must find ways to enable energy-intensive industries to become more energy efficient and to diversify the fuel and raw materials they use to manufacture their products,” said Lampson.
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 were appropriated for the program.
Expert energy industry witnesses at a subcommittee hearing on September 25 testified as to the importance of this program, and the need for and timeliness of the Lampson legislation.
H.R. 3775 passed the Subcommittee by voice vote and proceeds to mark-up consideration by the full Committee.
H.R. 1834, the National Ocean Exploration Program Act was also cleared today by the Subcommittee.