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Ranking Member Lucas Opening Statement, Full Committee Markup of H.R. 2986, H.R. 4230, H.R. 5374, H.R. 5428, and H.R. 5760

Feb 21, 2020
Opening Statement

Thank you, Chairwoman Johnson, for holding today’s full committee mark-up.

The Science Committee has one of the best track records in Congress for passing productive, bipartisan legislation, and I’m very pleased to see us upholding that tradition this morning. We’ve reached bipartisan agreement on the five energy bills being considered today.

Currently, the U.S. energy sector faces a number of critical challenges, and it can be difficult to find the best path forward in a world that increasingly demands cleaner, more reliable, and more affordable energy sources. But it is our job in Congress to set the priorities to address these challenges and focus our limited federal funds where we can see the best return on investment.  

To deliver truly effective solutions, we must take the long-term and big picture approach. We must support research in fundamental science that drives innovation over a broad range of energy applications, and strategically invest in the early-stage clean energy technologies that industry cannot support. We must also provide for R&D to modernize and defend our critical energy infrastructure and address the complex energy needs of our nation’s industrial sectors. These are the initiatives that today’s bills will address. 

The first bill we will consider this morning is H.R. 2986, the “Better Energy Storage Technology Act of 2019.” This legislation authorizes a cross-cutting research and development program at the Department of Energy (DOE) to provide necessary direction on high-priority energy storage technology research and development activities.

Advanced grid scale energy storage is an essential component of any comprehensive clean energy strategy and a priority of the current administration. Developing our grid scale energy storage ability will accelerate growth in all kinds of energy production, which can make use of this technology.

Our second bill this morning is H.R. 4230, the “Clean Industrial Technology Act of 2019.” Our nation’s economic stability and national security are tied to the growth of the U.S. industrial sector. Yet the demanding energy needs of industry can represent a unique challenge for our clean and secure energy future. This bill establishes a DOE program to support the development of innovative technologies and practices that will reduce industrial sector emissions while maintaining the effectiveness and competitiveness of U.S. industry. It also requires the Secretary to establish a comprehensive strategy to develop the mission and goals for this new program.

While I can’t say I agree with every aspect of this legislation, I would like to thank our friends across the aisle for meeting us at the table to come to an agreement. By having a good-faith discussion, we were able to add responsible funding levels and good governance provisions to H.R. 4230 that will make this legislation a bipartisan product.

Next we will consider my bill, H.R. 5374, the “Advanced Geothermal Research and Development Act of 2019” which authorizes DOE’s cutting-edge geothermal research and development activities. This bill establishes a geothermal computing program and includes funding for critical geothermal energy user facilities that will support the next generation of electricity generation from these vast and largely untapped renewable resources. I would like to thank Chairwoman Johnson for cosponsoring this legislation and for working with me to refine it.

While many renewables like wind and solar are already seeing success in the market, early-stage technologies like geothermal, which are often far too expensive and risky for industry to take to scale, require federal support for R&D. By strategically investing in these promising technologies we can continue to enhance our diverse domestic energy portfolio and bolster U.S. energy independence.

While we support next-generation energy technologies and clean energy strategies, we must also increase our investment in our critical energy infrastructure. So finally, the Committee will consider H.R. 5428, the “Grid Modernization Research and Development Act of 2019” and H.R. 5760, the “Grid Security Research and Development Act.”

Together, these two bills authorize DOE’s critical work in strengthening our nation’s electric grid against rapidly changing technological challenges. The Grid Security Research and Development Act authorizes the Department’s crucial cybersecurity and emergency response R&D activities and directs DOE to work with relevant Federal agencies to develop cybersecurity best practices. The Grid Modernization Research and Development Act authorizes R&D into hybrid energy systems, grid integration, and smart grid modeling - modernizing the grid to improve its overall resilience and flexibility.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank my good friends across the aisle for working with us on these bills. I appreciate that we can come together to focus on our shared interest in supporting commonsense legislation to maintain U.S. national security, environmental stewardship, economic prosperity, and energy security for years to come.

I’d like to again thank Chairwoman Johnson for holding this markup and I yield back the balance of my time.

Issues: 
116th Congress