This week, U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter (CO-07) successfully included two amendments focusing on the research, development and demonstration of wind and solar technologies and supporting the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) in Golden as well as several local Colorado companies.
The House Science, Space and Technology Committee marked up two bipartisan bills -- H.R. 3597, the Solar Energy Research and Development Act, and H.R. 3609, the Wind Energy Research and Development Act. Both bills modernize and reauthorize the Department of Energy's (DOE) solar and wind research, development and demonstration (RD&D) programs in an effort to improve the efficiency, reliability and affordability of advanced energy systems across the country.
Perlmutter's amendment to H.R. 3597 clarifies the research areas in the bill to ensure low cost, thin-film solar technologies are included in DOE's research.
In remarks made during the markup, Perlmutter commented, "NREL is the premier energy efficiency and renewable energy lab in the world. The lab first opened as the Solar Energy Research Institute in 1977 after passage of the Solar Energy Research, Development, and Demonstration Act of 1974. Since it opened its doors, NREL has pushed the boundaries of our understanding of solar energy technologies and helped dramatically reduce costs of manufacturing, installation, and integration of solar technology onto the grid. NREL has excelled at materials science and understanding how new materials like perovskite can be used to open new doors for commercial applications of solar technologies."
A local Thornton-based company, Ascent Solar which manufactures flexible solar panels in the U.S. with a wide range of applications, is partnering with NREL and DOE to better understand the fundamental materials science and the impacts of various techniques and processes on efficiency and reliability.
Perlmutter's amendment to H.R. 3609 encourages research on distributed wind energy and expands eligible research areas for distributed wind under the bill to ensure the most pressing distributed wind research areas are addressed.
In remarks made during the markup, Perlmutter commented, "The growth in wind energy in the United States over the last couple decades has been tremendous. We've seen a dramatic reduction in the cost of wind turbines which has enabled utilities to deploy hundreds of wind farms across the country. DOE is also working with companies on smaller, distributed wind technologies, such as Lakewood-based Primus Wind Power, which manufactures small-scale wind turbines including 30 and 40 kilowatt-hour turbines for use off the grid in remote locations, boats, and more."
NREL is the home of the National Wind Technology Site which is working with industry to improve manufacturing processes and materials to improve efficiencies and further reduce costs. To reduce the serious threat of climate change, Perlmutter supports promoting and incentivizing energy efficiency measures and decreasing our dependence on fossil fuels through a balanced, all-of-the-above energy plan which includes investing in clean energy like wind, solar, biofuels, geothermal, and other renewable energy sources.