Green congressional coalition lauds approval of key investments in energy technology R&D

The Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition (SEEC)today lauded House passage of key legislation that would make investments in the research and development of energy technologies envisioned by the Secretary of Energy as integral in moving the U.S. toward a new clean energy economy.

WASHINGTON-- The Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition (SEEC), a coalition of 49 members of Congress supportive of increased U.S. clean-energy development, today lauded House passage of key legislation that would make investments in the research and development of energy technologies envisioned by Secretary of Energy Steven Chu as integral in moving the U.S. toward a new clean and independent-energy economy.

Under the Energy and Water Appropriations for fiscal year 2010, passed today in the House of Representatives, the federal government will invest in the creation of "energy innovation hubs" for the research and development of energy efficient buildings systems and fuels from sunlight technologies. SEEC successfully advocated for funding these priorities.

In a letter sent last week to House and Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Conferees, SEEC members- led by Reps. Russ Carnahan (D-Mo.) and Jared Polis (D-Colo.)- called for sufficient funding "to provide the Department of Energy with the tools needed to develop more energy efficient buildings, and the fuel technologies of the twenty-first century."

"In 1947, AT&T Bell Laboratories fully developed the transistor. In the 1950s, Lincoln Lab at MIT further developed the radar. Now, these energy innovation hubs will help produce the next breakthroughs required to lead the United States into the new clean-energy economy, tapping into the great tradition of American innovation to create the clean-energy jobs of tomorrow," said Carnahan, who chairs SEEC's Green Buildings Task Force.

"Research leaders like the University of Colorado at Boulder, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Colorado and their partnerships with my district's local clean-energy start-ups, are glowing examples of the new energy future we can achieve with focused research and collaboration," said Polis, a first year member of Congress and a SEEC vice chair. "The hubs that have been funded today are just the beginning of a long-overdue research model that will fundamentally transform our nation's energy opportunities."

According to the Department of Energy: "Each hub will focus on a single topic, but will work on spanning the gamut from basic research through engineering development to partnering with industry in commercialization. Each hub will comprise a highly collaborative team utilizing multiple scientific, engineering, and where appropriate, economics and public policy disciplines, working largely under one roof."

During a June 16, 2009, meeting with SEEC lawmakers, Secretary Chu laid out his vision for the hubs. Since its inception in January, SEEC has been a strong supporter of investments in clean energy research and development, and successfully fought for such investments in February's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, as well as the American Clean Energy and Security Act that was passed by the House in June.

SEEC co-chair Rep. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.) added, "SEEC understands that our country must provide robust investments in research in development if we are to realize a prosperous clean-energy future. We are proud to support the Secretary of Energy in the pursuit of these technologies."

The Senate is expected to approve the Energy and Water Appropriations conference report for fiscal year 2010 tomorrow or early next week. After Senate approval, the legislation will go to the President for enactment into law.


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