WASHINGTON – Members of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee praised last night’s House passage of the Solar Fuels Innovation Act (H.R. 5638) and the Electricity Storage Innovation Act (H.R. 5640) that were favorably reported out of committee by voice vote last week. Both bills are part of Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) Innovation Initiative.

Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas): “The passage of H.R. 5640 takes us one step closer to a more robust energy sector. Electricity storage is one of the next frontiers in our energy future.  Innovations leading to advanced, next generation batteries could help bring affordable electricity and renewable energy to the market without costly subsidies or mandates. 

“The transformative breakthroughs in energy science achieved by researchers at our national labs will empower the private sector to develop innovative electricity storage technologies. The private sector is best suited to bring new battery technology to the commercial energy market. I want to thank my colleagues on the Science Committee for their bipartisan support of this important basic research initiative, and I look forward to working with our colleagues in the Senate to move this bill to the president’s desk.”

The Electricity Storage Innovation Act, introduced by full Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas), authorizes the Secretary of Energy to carry out a $100 million basic research initiative in the chemistry and materials sciences necessary for advanced electricity storage systems.  H.R. 5640 directs the Department of Energy to also conduct this research using existing funds in the DOE Office of Science and EERE.

Rep. Stephen Knight (R-Calif.): “I applaud the passage of H.R. 5638. Basic research in artificial photosynthesis and related research could lead to a solar fuels system that consolidates solar power and energy storage into a cohesive process and fundamentally change the way we extract energy from our natural resources. 

“Scientists up and down the coast of California are undertaking this research, from universities in Southern California to Lawrence Berkeley Lab in the Bay Area.  The research authorized in this legislation could solve this key scientific challenge, and open the door for American entrepreneurs to develop the next generation of solar technology. 

“I’d like to thank my colleagues who joined me in introducing this bill and the many research institutions that offered letters of support. I look forward to its introduction in the Senate.”

The Solar Fuels Innovation Act, introduced by Energy Subcommittee Vice Chairman Stephen Knight (R-Calif.), authorizes the Secretary of Energy to carry out a $100 million basic research initiative to foster scientific discovery in advanced chemistry for the eventual development of solar fuels systems.  The process of creating fuels from the sun, also known as artificial photosynthesis and photosynthesis replication, relies heavily on the fundamental study of chemistry and materials science by the DOE Office of Science.  This legislation also authorizes translational research in solar fuels, focusing the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) on early-stage R&D that will not be undertaken by the private sector, and provides accountability to ensure limited federal research funds are used responsibly.  H.R. 5638 directs the Department of Energy to conduct this research using existing funds in the DOE Office of Science and EERE.