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Ranking Member Lucas Statement on H.R. 5374, the Advanced Geothermal Research and Development Act

Feb 21, 2020
Opening Statement
Full Committee Markup of H.R. 2986, H.R. 4230, H.R. 5374, H.R. 5428, and H.R. 5760

Thank you, Chairwoman Johnson. This morning, I am grateful for another opportunity to discuss our bill, H.R. 5374, the Advanced Geothermal Research and Development Act of 2019, which authorizes research, development, and demonstration of innovative geothermal energy technologies at the Department of Energy (DOE).

Geothermal energy is a clean, renewable, and abundant domestic energy source. Our country has significant geothermal energy resources and leads the world in installed geothermal capacity. If harnessed correctly, these resources have the potential to provide reliable baseload power and adaptive energy storage for Americans across the country.

But today, geothermal energy technologies are behind the renewable market curve: while renewable energy sources account for approximately 18 percent of total utility-scale U.S. electricity generation, geothermal contributes less than one percent.

This is because today’s geothermal energy technologies are often too expensive, time-consuming, or risky for widespread industry adoption. In order for U.S. industry to take advantage of geothermal energy, geothermal technologies and techniques must become much more efficient and substantially less expensive for American consumers.

The good news is that on the Science Committee, we are uniquely positioned to help prioritize the kind of early stage research that leads to groundbreaking discoveries in energy technology. As we’ve heard so often in Committee hearings this Congress, federally funded research programs have an established history of paving the way for industry innovation. This is especially true at the Department of Energy.

H.R. 5374, the Advanced Geothermal Research and Development Act, will provide DOE with necessary funding and critical program direction to enable innovative research in advanced geothermal technologies, strengthen the U.S. geothermal workforce, leverage advanced computing practices for geothermal applications, support the construction of major advanced geothermal user facilities, and encourage international collaboration.

By authorizing these programs, we can help U.S. industry improve the next generation of geothermal energy technologies, using advanced designs to save time and money in planning, and producing power more efficiently with less impact on the environment. I think these are goals we can all support. If we want to ensure the responsible development of a diverse portfolio of clean and domestically sourced energy technologies, we in Congress should prioritize this important early-stage research.

In a moment, I will offer a manager’s amendment to this bill, which I encourage my colleagues to support, that provides valuable technical and conforming changes suggested by stakeholders. I want to thank Chairwoman Johnson and her staff for working with me on this amendment, and for her continued support of this legislation.

I look forward to continuing to work with you all to support this common sense, productive, and bipartisan clean energy bill.

I yield back the balance of my time.

116th Congress