December 20, 2017

Congressman Luján and Colleagues Introduce Bipartisan, Bicameral Bill to Help Drive Investment in New Energy Technologies

[WASHINGTON, DC] – Congressman Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), along with fellow House member Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) and U.S. Senators Chris Coons (D-DE.) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) today introduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation, the IMPACT for Energy Act, to establish a nonprofit foundation for the U.S. Department of Energy that would channel private-sector investments and accelerate the commercialization of innovative technologies in energy.

Research and development (R&D) drives innovation and accounts for nearly 7% of the United States real GDP growth. However, recent declines in research funding have jeopardized U.S. economic competitiveness. For example, from 2008 to 2013, venture capital funding in energy startups fell by 60% and resulted in a steep decline in the development of these important startup companies. Unlike other sectors, the energy sector has several unique challenges to innovation including requiring high capital needs, long development times, the need to overcome incumbent technologies, and operating within a shifting regulatory environment. Addressing these challenges requires partnerships with government, industry, startups, and outside funding organizations.

This bill establishes a nonprofit foundation to engage with the private sector to raise funds that support the creation, development, and commercialization of innovative technologies that address tomorrow’s energy challenges.

“The non-profit foundation created by this bill will serve as the ideal framework to organize, connect, and coordinate a diverse group of partners from government, industry and the venture capital sectors,” said Congressman Luján.“Similar foundations at the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have all demonstrated that they can raise tens of millions of private sector dollars towards cutting-edge research and innovation. This foundation will complement and enhance the agency’s mission, leverage the work of our national laboratories and enable new products and services to come to market more quickly.”

“The IMPACT for Energy Act will provide a great opportunity to work towards solving our nation’s complex energy needs. This bill will help channel private sector investment and aid in the development of meaningful technologies that can grow our economy and create jobs,” said Congressman Joe Wilson. “I am grateful to have the opportunity to work on this important bipartisan, bicameral legislation with my colleague in the House, Congressman Ben Ray Luján, and my colleagues in the Senate, Senator Chris Coons and fellow South Carolinian Senator Lindsey Graham.”

“The IMPACT for Energy Act would bolster efforts to support private-sector investment, accelerate commercialization by facilitating public-private partnerships and prize competitions, and would serve as an agent in convening industry leaders and other stakeholders to collaborate, share ideas, and solve some of your most complex and challenging problems,” said Senator Coons. “I am proud to introduce this bill with Senator Graham and my co-authors in the House that helps drive innovation in the energy sector and helps bring the next generation of energy technologies.”

“Investing in research and development – particularly as it pertains to energy – is a wise move. The IMPACT for Energy Act would allow the Department of Energy to partner with the private sector, creating a unique opportunity for innovation. I was proud to work with my long-time friend and colleague Congressman Joe Wilson from South Carolina, along with Senator Coons, and Congressman Luján, on this important legislation,” said Senator Graham.  “Our bill will help foster new ideas and partnerships to keep America on the cutting edge of economic and technological developments.”

The Increasing and Mobilizing Partnerships to Achieve Commercialization of Technologies (IMPACT) for Energy Act would:

Support private-sector investment. 

·         Provides a mechanism to channel private-sector investment into commercializing energy technology

·         Accelerate commercialization.  Facilitates public-private partnerships and encourages new ideas such as increased regional economic development and prize competitions

·         Convene industry leaders - supports events, briefings, and symposia to create a forum for stakeholders to share ideas and collaborate on complex energy problems 

The legislation is also supported by the Bipartisan Policy Center, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), the Association of Public and land-grant Universities (APLU), Third Way, the Science Center and the Alliance to Save Energy.