Department of Energy Research and Innovation Act

Floor Speech

Date: Sept. 13, 2018
Location: Washington, DC
Issues: Energy


Mr. KNIGHT. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the Department of Energy Research and Innovation Act. This bill makes important investments in science and technology research to ensure the United States protects its edge in novel, efficient, and commercially viable energy production.

H.R. 589 makes needed reforms to the national laboratories' relationship with the private sector to streamline the transfer of commercially ready technologies to American businesses.

This will allow the benefits of public investment and critical research to be passed on to American entrepreneurs with greater speed and reinforced economic growth and job creation.

In addition, this bill directs the Department of Energy to establish energy innovation hubs to pull together and create efficiencies in key scientific areas across basic and applied research programs. This bill also includes authorization of the solar fuels initiative, incorporating the text of my bill last Congress, the Solar Fuels Innovation Act.

This provision builds on research that is now being undertaken up and down the coast of California, from Berkeley to Caltech, to produce fuels from sunlight. The solar fuel process, also known as artificial photosynthesis, converts sunlight into energy to create a range of storable chemical fuels, overcoming the biggest obstacle to maximizing the benefits of renewable technologies.

Basic research and artificial photosynthesis and related efforts could lead to a solar fuel system that consolidates solar power and energy storage in a cohesive process. This would transform the economy in California and the rest of the Nation. The solar fuels initiative would solve the critical challenge posed by wasted renewable energy and enlarge incentives to invest in new solar businesses.

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank Chairman Smith and my colleagues who have helped me advance this bill for their foresight in identifying research initiatives that promise new approaches to energy technology that will be good for our economy and our environment.