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Weber Opening Statement at Energy Subcommittee Markup of Geothermal and Grid Legislation

Dec 19, 2019
Opening Statement

Good morning.  Thank you, Chairman Lamb, for the opportunity to speak on the three bills before us today: H.R. 2986, the Better Energy Storage Technology Act, H.R. 5374, the Advanced Geothermal Research and Development Act, and H.R. 5428, the Grid Modernization Research and Development Act.

H.R. 2986, the Better Energy Storage Technology, or BEST Act, directs the Department of Energy (DOE) to develop energy storage technologies through a cross-cutting research, development, and demonstration program.

Today, advanced renewable and distributed energy resources are changing the way that U.S. electricity is produced and delivered.

But as we all know, these sources are intermittent and dependent on the sun to shine or the wind to blow. 

Without the capacity to efficiently store this energy at the grid-scale, we limit the ability of renewable energy sources to meet U.S. energy needs. It is clear that advanced energy storage technology is the key to maximizing our clean energy resources and modernizing our electric grid, without sacrificing energy reliability and security. 

That is why I’m pleased to see that the BEST Act authorizes critical, fundamental research that will enable U.S. researchers to test and validate grid-scale systems that can store and generate energy over a range of time, from 6 hours to several months.

I want to thank my colleagues Mr. Foster, Ms. Herrera Beutler, Mr. Casten, and Mr. Gonzalez for working together to produce this bipartisan legislation.

The next bill on the docket is H.R. 5374, the Advanced Geothermal Energy Research and Development Act of 2019. Introduced by Ranking Member Lucas and co-sponsored by Chairwoman Johnson, H.R. 5374 authorizes DOE programs in a number of high-priority geothermal technology areas including, enhanced geothermal energy systems, subsurface technologies for geothermal energy production, reservoir thermal energy storage, and advanced computing to accelerate the development of geothermal energy.

This legislation also supports innovative experimental user facilities known as “Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy” or FORGE sites.

With limited Federal dollars and a responsibility to spend those resources wisely, I believe that user facilities, like those authorized in this bill, can give us the highest return on our investment and produce advanced energy technologies that will greatly accelerate innovation in the private sector.

By making these strategic investments in advanced geothermal energy technologies, we can tap into a truly renewable source of baseload power that will help diversify our energy portfolio and strengthen American energy independence. 

The final bill we will consider today is H.R. 5428, the Grid Modernization Research and Development Act of 2019, which was introduced by Chairman Lamb and co-sponsored by Representative Herrera Beutler.

H.R. 5428, establishes a research, development, and demonstration program at the Department of Energy, focused on grid modeling, sensing, resilience, reliability, and emergency response.

This work is already a critical priority for the Administration and the Department. Through the Department-wide Grid Modernization Initiative (GMI) and the Grid Modernization Lab Consortium (GMLC), DOE is uniquely positioned to drive innovation in technologies that will help counter grid vulnerabilities and provide necessary updates to our energy infrastructure.

Modernizing our grid will also require cooperation from many federal agencies, states, and industry partners. That is why I am glad to see that this legislation includes a technical assistance program to identify the evolving R&D needs of U.S. industry and the electric grid.

I want to thank all of my colleagues involved today for putting forward 3 bipartisan bills today that have been thoroughly reviewed by stakeholders and the Department. Thank you and I yield back the balance of my time.

116th Congress