[Senate Hearing 111-330]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
S. Hrg. 111-330
SUBCOMMITTEE ON ENERGY
ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES
UNITED STATES SENATE
ONE HUNDRED ELEVENTH CONGRESS
S. 737 H.R. 2729
S. 1617 H.R. 3165
S. 2744 H.R. 3246
S. 2773 H.R. 3585
DECEMBER 8, 2009
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Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
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COMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES
JEFF BINGAMAN, New Mexico, Chairman
BYRON L. DORGAN, North Dakota LISA MURKOWSKI, Alaska
RON WYDEN, Oregon RICHARD BURR, North Carolina
TIM JOHNSON, South Dakota JOHN BARRASSO, Wyoming
MARY L. LANDRIEU, Louisiana SAM BROWNBACK, Kansas
MARIA CANTWELL, Washington JAMES E. RISCH, Idaho
ROBERT MENENDEZ, New Jersey JOHN McCAIN, Arizona
BLANCHE L. LINCOLN, Arkansas ROBERT F. BENNETT, Utah
BERNARD SANDERS, Vermont JIM BUNNING, Kentucky
EVAN BAYH, Indiana JEFF SESSIONS, Alabama
DEBBIE STABENOW, Michigan BOB CORKER, Tennessee
MARK UDALL, Colorado
JEANNE SHAHEEN, New Hampshire
Robert M. Simon, Staff Director
Sam E. Fowler, Chief Counsel
McKie Campbell, Republican Staff Director
Karen K. Billups, Republican Chief Counsel
Subcommittee on Energy
MARIA CANTWELL, Washington, Chairman
BYRON L. DORGAN, North Dakota JAMES E. RISCH, Idaho
RON WYDEN, Oregon RICHARD BURR, North Carolina
MARY L. LANDRIEU, Louisiana JOHN BARRASSO, Wyoming
ROBERT MENENDEZ, New Jersey SAM BROWNBACK, Kansas
BERNARD SANDERS, Vermont JROBERT F. BENNETT, Utah
EVAN BAYH, Indiana JIM BUNNING, Kentucky
DEBBIE STABENOW, Michigan JEFF SESSIONS, Alabama
MARK UDALL, Colorado BOB CORKER, Tennesse
JEANNE SHAHEEN, New Hampshire
Jeff Bingaman and Lisa Murkowski are Ex Officio Members of the
C O N T E N T S
Cantwell, Hon. Maria, U.S. Senator from Washington............... 1
Johnson, Kristina M., Under Secretary of Energy, Department of
Stabenow, Hon. Debbie, U.S. Senator From Michigan................ 4
Responses to additional questions................................ 33
Additional material submitted for the record..................... 45
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 8, 2009
Subcommittee on Energy,
Committee on Energy and Natural Resources,
The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 2:35 p.m. in
room SD-366, Dirksen Senate Office Building, Hon. Maria
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. MARIA CANTWELL, U.S. SENATOR FROM
Senator Cantwell. The U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and
Natural Resources, Subcommittee on Energy, will come to order.
I want to thank my colleagues for being here today to hear
testimony on a list of legislative bills.
H.R. 957, the Green Energy Education Act of 2009.
H.R. 2729, to authorize the designation of national
environmental research parks.
H.R. 3165, the Wind Energy Research and Development Act of
H.R. 3585, the Solar Technology Road Map Act.
S. 737, a bill to amend the Energy Independence and
Security Act of 2007, to authorize the Secretary to conduct
research and development demonstration to make more biofuels
compatible with small non-road engine and for other purposes.
S. 1617, to require the Secretary of Commerce to establish
a program for awards of grants to states to establish revolving
loan funds for small and medium sized manufacturers to improve
S. 2744, a bill to amend the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to
expand authority for awarding technology prizes by the
Secretary of Energy.
S. 2773, a bill to require the Secretary of Energy to carry
out programs to support the research and demonstration and
development of commercial applications for offshore wind energy
and other purposes.
We're very pleased to have the Under Secretary of Energy
here, the Honorable Kristina Johnson. So thank you very much
for joining us today to speak on all of these legislative
proposals from both the House and the Senate.
The agenda for this is a hearing today so that we can hope
to move these bills. Obviously it's important that the
committee consider these bills on a regular order but at first
receive some expert testimony on them. Under Secretary Johnson,
we are eager to hear from you about the Department's views.
Ultimately if funds are appropriated for them, you will have to
administer these programs. It's important that we hear the
Department's views first and foremost.
I want to note as we consider energy related research and
development programs and I'm sitting here with my colleague,
Senator Stabenow from Michigan.I'm going to call on her in a
minute along with the Ranking Member Risch, as soon as he shows
up. I'd also like to highlight an item that is not on the
agenda that Senator Stabenow and I worked hard on which was the
establishment of a new 30 percent investment tax credit for
We were able to get 80 votes in the Stimulus Package for
this 48C tax credit for construction equipping renewable energy
and for smart grid technology and manufacturing facilities.
Senator Stabenow and I worked very hard on that. As we hear
from the President in the next couple of days on his jobs
agenda and as our colleagues move off of health care and on to
jobs agenda, we are going to be working hard to resubmit that
legislation in hopes that it will be a key component of our job
activities moving forward.
We think not only will it help create jobs here at home,
but whole new industries that will support entire communities
and manufacturing and clean equipment that we need to transform
our Nation. The solar industry is a good case example of this.
First, solar is a leading American photovoltaic model
maker. They built their first pilot plant in 2005 in Ohio. But
when they needed to scale up production generous manufacturing
incentives and market demand in Germany and Malaysia led them
away from the United States. If this clean energy manufacturing
stint has become part of a stimulus bill it would launch a wave
of new clean energy manufacturing facilities around the
country. Just the stimulative effect for the solar industry
alone would create 315,000 jobs.
Let me also note for the record that Senator Stabenow
introduced S. 2843, which is a companion bill to the House Bill
that is on the schedule today, H.R. 3246 which we are
considering today. The bill is co-sponsored by Senators Wyden,
Brown and Nelson, of Florida.
I would also like to take note that Senator Collins has
provided testimony and cannot be here today on S. 2773 and S.
737 that we will also include her comments in the record on
that. That is a bill to authorize the Secretary to do research
and demonstration projects on biofuels.
[The prepared statements of Senator Collins follow:]
Prepared Statements of Hon. Susan M. Collins, U.S. Senator From Maine
Chairman Cantwell, Ranking Member Risch, and members of the
subcommittee, thank you for holding this hearing today on the Offshore
Wind Energy Research, Development, Demonstration and Commercial
Application Act, which I introduced on November 16th.
This legislation requires the Secretary of Energy to carry out a
program of research, development, demonstration and commercial
application to advance offshore wind turbine technology. This bill
would advance the goal of the Department of Energy to produce 20
percent of our nation's electricity from wind resources by 2030.
Currently 61 percent of U.S. wind resources is in deepwater,
greater than 60 meters (197 feet) depth. Winds at these locations are
stronger and more consistent than closer to shore or on land. It will,
however, take technological advances to harness this energy efficiently
This bill would focus national efforts to develop offshore wind
technologies. This should be a national priority because this source
can produce clean, renewable energy for major U.S. population centers.
The 28 coastal U.S. states use 78 percent of the electricity in the
U.S. For example, Maine's offshore wind resource is close to the 55
million people who live in New England, New York, New Jersey and
Pennsylvania. This is 18 percent of the total U.S. population.
Developing cost-competitive offshore wind technology will require
improvements in the efficiency, reliability, and capacity of offshore
wind turbines and reductions in the cost of manufacturing,
construction, deployment, generation, and maintenance of offshore wind
energy systems. That is why my bill directs the Secretary of Energy to
support existing university centers and establish new centers to
support research, development, demonstration and commercial
application. The bill authorizes $50 million annually over ten years
the design, demonstration, and deployment of advanced wind
turbine foundations and support structures, blades, turbine
systems, components, and supporting land-and water-based
infrastructure for application in shallow water, transitional
depth, and deep water offshore;
full-scale testing and establishment of regional
demonstrations of offshore wind components and systems to
validate technology and performance;
assessments of U.S. offshore wind resources, environmental
impacts and benefits, siting and permitting issues, exclusion
zones, and transmission needs for inclusion in a publically
design, demonstration, and deployment of integrated sensors,
actuators and advanced materials, such as composite materials;
advanced blade manufacturing activity, such as automation,
materials, and assembly of large-scale components, to stimulate
the development of a U.S.-blade manufacturing capacity;
methods to assess and mitigate the effects of wind energy
systems on marine ecosystems and marine industries; and
other research areas as determined by the Secretary.
Again, I extend my appreciation to Chairman Cantwell and Ranking
Member Risch. This bill would support critical renewable energy
research that would help reduce our use of fossil fuels and improve our
Chairman Cantwell, Ranking Member Risch, and members of the
subcommittee, thank you for holding this hearing today on the Biofuels
Compatibility Act of 2009, which I introduced on March 30th with
Senator Mark Udall. This legislation would amend the Energy
Independence and Security Act of 2007 to expand on a research,
development, and demonstration program, authorized in that bill, to
include efforts to make biofuels more compatible with small non-road
The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, directed the
Secretary of the Department of Energy (DOE), in coordination with the
Secretary of the Department of Transportation (DOT) and in consultation
with the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), to
carry out a program of research and development regarding the impact
that biofuels, like ethanol, may have on existing fuel storage and
delivery infrastructure used for petroleum-based fuels. It is critical
that these biofuels also are safe to use in operating small non-road
engines. My bill requires these agencies to expand their research
program to include small engines such as those in snowmobiles, boats,
lawnmowers, and chainsaws. In my state, the only fuel generally
available is an ethanol-gasoline fuel blend with 10 percent by volume
of ethanol. Many communities across the country have similar
restrictions of fuel availability, which makes this legislation
especially timely and important.
Previous testing done through DOE shows that increased ethanol
content in smaller engines creates a leaner burning mixture, which may
increase idle speed on some small engines, creating unanticipated
clutch engagement on equipment such as chainsaws and handheld trimmers.
Also, fuel ethanol is more corrosive and less efficient than
traditional gasoline blends. During these difficult economic times,
equipment damage due to ethanol-gasoline fuel blends only adds to the
many challenges facing Maine's farmers, fishermen, independent
woodsmen, and recreational industry.
As we pursue strategies to lessen our dependence on foreign oil, we
must also take action to ensure that ethanol fuel blends are safe and
efficient for small engines. I urge my colleagues to support this
Again, I extend my appreciation to Chairman Cantwell and Ranking
Member Risch. It is important that people throughout the country, who
depend daily on the nation's fuel supply to power their tools and
recreational vehicles and boats, can depend on the fuels approved for
sale in general commerce. I look forward to working with them to
advance this legislation.
Senator Cantwell. So again, Under Secretary Johnson, we're
glad that you are here today to testify on all of these bills.
I will certainly call on the ranking member when he shows
But now I'd like to, if I could, call on my colleague,
Senator Stabenow, to address the legislation she's here to
Then we'll get to you, Under Secretary Johnson. Thank you.
STATEMENT OF HON. DEBBIE STABENOW, U.S. SENATOR FROM MICHIGAN
Senator Stabenow. Thank you, Madam Chair.
I first want to thank you for partnering with me on so many
items that effect manufacturing and both in clean energy and in
a number of other areas. We have been able to partner on the
Finance Committee as well as here. I appreciate the fact that
you understand, as I do, that we need to make things in this
country. That that's really what this is all about is the
ability to make things in America and create jobs and strong
businesses and put people back to work.
Madame Under Secretary, it's great to see you again.
I did want to comment on the legislation that I've
introduced, S. 2843. Also commend my colleague in the House,
Congressman Gary Peters, who's done a terrific job of passing
this legislation in the House of Representatives. I do think
it's important that we also acknowledge the fact that in the
Recovery Act that we passed at the beginning of the year. We
have been able to move the ball forward with, as the Chair
indicated, the 30 percent manufacturing tax credit for clean
It's wonderful to have an Administration that gets it,
quite frankly, when we put forward the fact that we needed to
focus on manufacturing technology development and deployment.
Equipment going to plants, retooling plants and so on. There
was not a moment of hesitation from the Administration.
So I appreciate that very much, the fact that there's an
understanding that yes, we need R and D, but we need to be able
to go farther. As I said, put boots on the ground and actually
be able to retool and help offset the costs of equipment and be
able to get us all the way there in terms of creating
manufacturing jobs. So I thank you very much for that.
I also want to mention the fact that Senator Brown has
legislation. I'm a co-sponsor of the Impact Bill which would
also help small and medium sized manufacturers. I think that's
an important piece that we need to be focused on as well.
According to the Michigan Manufacturer's Association we
have more than 700 auto suppliers in Michigan. We are proud of
that. That totals more than 50 percent of the North American
auto supply base.
This is not about rust belt technology. It's about advanced
manufacturing. I also want to say I saw someone slipping in the
back, a friend of mine, who does work, major work, on advanced
manufacturing. Madame Chair, Chip McClure, from ArvinMeritor, I
saw in the back.
Chip, it's nice to see you. ArvinMeritor is at the front
end of leading technologies and batteries, yes, for trucks as
well as for cars. So we're really glad that you're here today
The Advanced Vehicle Technology Act, Madame Chair, provides
funding for advanced vehicle technology research and
development in the Department of Energy. We know that this was
spur innovation. Ensure that America leads the world in
inventing, developing and manufacturing technologies that will
power vehicles for the future.
Around the world other nations are making tremendous
investments. In fact I think it's important to note that we
have, I believe, it's $280 million a day that China is now
investing in clean energy technology. Shame on us if in this
new energy revolution we're not the ones creating the jobs here
in America. Shame on us if we let that technology and those
jobs go overseas.
So, Madame Chair this is about building engines and
batteries and other components. We also have considered an
additional natural gas vehicle bill, in my legislation, that
passed in the House of Representatives. These bills, combined
together, put forward a bipartisan effort to help us retool for
new markets, move forward on advanced manufacturing.
It certainly is critical that we do this now. I wish we had
done more sooner. We've worked on efforts to do more sooner.
But right now this is an opportunity to move as quickly as
So I thank you for the time. I would very much appreciate
my colleague's support.
Senator Cantwell. Thank you, Senator Stabenow.
Senator Barrasso, did you want to make a statement?
Senator Barrasso. Thank you very much, Madame Chairman. I'm
delighted to hear from Dr. Johnson first. Then perhaps, make a
statement and some additional questions.
Thank you, Madame Chairman.
Senator Cantwell. Thank you for that. I think when Senator
Risch comes we'll allow him to make an opening statement. But
since he's not here, Under Secretary Johnson, we'll let you
Again, thank you for your visits to the Pacific Northwest
both on visiting the Hanford side as well as the other
activities to focus on job creation. So, thank you for being
STATEMENT OF KRISTINA M. JOHNSON, UNDER SECRETARY OF ENERGY,
DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY
Ms. Johnson. Thank you, Madame Chair, Ranking Member Risch
and members of the subcommittee for the opportunity to be here
today to give the Department of Energy's assessment of several
energy bills currently under consideration. We appreciate your
interest in the views of the Department of Energy on these
bills. Over many years and many Administrations, the Department
has enjoyed an open and productive relationship with this
committee. Those of us serving under President Obama certainly
plan to continue and strengthen that relationship.
We are encouraged by the committee's commitment to continue
to improve on the substantial and positive investment made in
clean energy through legislation enacted in recent years. In
particular, we wish to thank you for all the hard work this
committee has put into the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the
Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, the Clean Energy
portions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009
and this year's reporting of the American Clean Energy
Leadership Act. Additionally, I want to thank the sponsors of
the bills we are discussing today, from both sides of the aisle
and both sides of the Capitol, for their hard work on clean
Given the brief amount of time I have today I will
summarize the Department's views and recommendations regarding
several of these bills. A detailed analysis of each is
contained in my prepared statement which I have submitted for
First I will address H.R. 957, the Green Energy Education
Act. Adequately preparing our work force is a subject that grew
near and dear to my heart during my 25 years as an educator. A
general work force deficiency is growing across the energy
The rapid deployment of new energy technologies coupled
with the fact that 40 to 60 percent of energy utilities'
skilled workers and engineers are eligible to retire by 2012
reinforces the need for a broad approach to address the green
jobs development and training challenge. To this end, the
Department already has been working closely with the National
Science Foundation to strengthen the scientific, technology and
engineering and math education programs at the technical,
undergraduate and graduate levels.
While H.R. 957 would advance the Department's energy
technology development mission in the specific arena of
building technologies, we think that the scale of the challenge
demands a more comprehensive approach. We believe that this
bill could be improved to authorize activities beyond what the
Department is already undertaking. To more fully address the
larger issue of energy education, green jobs creation and work
force training that extends beyond buildings.
Turning next to H.R. 3246, the Advanced Vehicle Technology
Act of 2009, we believe this act would enable the Department to
build on its continuing efforts to improve existing vehicle
technologies and emphasize other modes of transportation to
significantly reduce passenger and commercial vehicle miles
traveled. We also believe the bill generally covers an
appropriate technology portfolio. It includes well placed
interest in heavy duty vehicles and is well aligned with prior
year program budgets.
We do, however, have some concerns regarding the hydrogen
and fuel cell activities authorized in the bill which are
detailed in my written testimony.
H.R. 3585, the Solar Technology Road Map Act, includes
several features that would support the Department's continuing
vision for the solar energy technologies program. We are
enthusiastic about the funding levels proposed. The road map
concept is consistent with the Department's prior efforts to
establish ambitious, yet achievable targets for clean energy
In fact, the existing solar program is already working with
industry representatives and others to develop a solar vision
study which will look at opportunities to achieve 10 to 20
percent of the Nation's electricity generation from solar
technologies by 2030. While we welcome additional industry
input and funding for demonstration projects the Department is
concerned that the bill would place the Department's solar
program under the watch and direction of a semi-autonomous
committee. This is problematic for a couple reasons.
First, it would bind a Federal agency's research and
development efforts to the recommendations of a non-
Second, constraining the flexibility of the Department to
such an entity would hinder the Department's ability to respond
to an ever changing research and development landscape as often
diverse sources of information and changing situations arising
from yet unknown, but expected outcomes of the Department's
research and development efforts.
Again the support Congress has shown for solar technologies
in recent years has been encouraging and exciting. We would
encourage Congress to stipulate that the committee would
provide the kinds of non-binding advice and recommendations
traditionally provided by publicly chartered, Federal advisory
committees rather than a binding approach.
Finally I'll offer a few comments on S. 1617, investments
for Manufacturing Process and Clean Technology Act of 2009 and
S. 2744, Carbon Dioxide Capture Technology Act of 2009. In the
case of the former, the Department appreciates the committee's
support for improving energy efficiency across the
manufacturing sector, a goal the Department shares. I am
pleased to note the Department is already working to carry out
many of the bills goals through work of its own or by
collaborating with other Federal and State agencies, including
the Department of Commerce.
We stand ready to work with this committee and the Commerce
Department to consider how the bill can be improved to draw
upon our deep, domain knowledge and build off our existing
S. 2744 would authorize the creation of a ``C Prize,''
similar to other authorized energy technology competitions to
foster novel technologies that separate carbon dioxide from
dilute sources. The Department supports the creation of such a
prize as we consider carbon capture to be an essential tool in
the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions. As currently
proposed, however, the bill's recommendations may be overly
prescriptive, particularly in the area of intellectual property
protection. We recommend that the Department be granted greater
latitude in calling upon diverse sources of information in
formulating such a prize.
In the interest of time, I'd refer you to my prepared
statement where you will find the balance of the Department's
detailed recommendations on these and the other proposed bills.
I'd like to thank you again for the opportunity to testify. We
look forward to working with you on these and other energy
[The prepared statement of Ms. Johnson follows:]
Prepared Statement of Kristina M. Johnson, Under Secretary of Energy,
Department of Energy
Madam Chairman, Ranking Member Risch, and Members of the
Subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today
to discuss several draft energy bills. We deeply appreciate your
interest in the views of the Department of Energy (The Department) on
these bills. Over many years and many Administrations, the Department
has enjoyed an open and productive relationship with this Committee,
and those of us serving under President Obama certainly want to
continue and strengthen that partnership.
In recent years, Congress has made a very substantial and positive
investment in clean energy through the enactment of the Energy Policy
Act of 2005 (P.L. 109-58), the Energy Independence and Security Act of
2007 (EISA)(P.L. 110-140), and the clean energy portions of the
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (P.L. 111-5).
This year, the Committee has proposed further investment and we
thank you for all your hard work in reporting the American Clean Energy
Leadership Act (S. 1462). As President Obama said while dedicating a
new solar plant in Central Florida, ``At this moment, there is
something big happening in America when it comes to creating a clean
energy economy. . . . And I have often said that the creation of such
an economy is going to require nothing less than the sustained effort
of an entire nation--an all-hands-on-deck approach similar to the
mobilization that preceded World War II or the Apollo Project.''\1\
\1\ From ``Remarks by the President on Recovery Act Funding for
Smart Grid Technology.'' Press release. October 27, 2009. http://
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act 2009 (The Recovery Act)
alone provided the Department with $36.7B in appropriations--$32.7
billion in grant and contract authority, $4 billion in credit subsidy
for loan guarantees, plus $6.5 billion in borrowing authority for the
Power Marketing Administrations. These funds will support some $100
billion in clean energy and environmental clean up projects when
leverage and cost share are included, creating hundreds of thousands of
jobs and providing a meaningful down payment on the nation's energy and
\2\ The Department has been funded at $36.7 billion in Recovery Act
dollars, after $2 billion of the original $38.7 billion was redirected
to the Cash for Clunkers program.
For this hearing, I would like to offer the Department's views on
nine proposed bills, as the Subcommittee has asked. These bills are:
H.R. 957, H.R. 2729, H.R. 3165, H.R. 3236, H.R. 3585, S. 737, S. 1617,
S. 2773, and S. 2744. I will address each bill in order of introduction
starting with the House bills, except the two wind bills, which I will
h.r. 957--green energy education act
A cornerstone of The Department's mission is to create an
energyliterate generation of skilled workers, scientists, and
innovators who can accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy
and ensure U.S. global competitiveness. The Administration is deeply
committed to promoting the creation of green jobs.
While the Department appreciates H.R. 957's focus on building
technologies, we would like to impress upon the Committee that a
general workforce deficiency is growing across the energy sector. The
rapid deployment of new energy technologies, coupled with the fact that
40 to 60 percent of energy utilities' skilled workers and engineers are
eligible to retire by 2012\3\ reinforces the need for a broad approach
to address the green job development and training challenge.
\3\ Center for Energy Workforce Demand 2007 Report: Gaps in Energy
To this end, the Department works closely with the National Science
Foundation (NSF) in a number of areas to strengthen scientific
educational programs at the technical, undergraduate, and graduate
levels. These projects are aimed at creating a pipeline beginning at
the K-12 level and extending through the post-graduate level to ensure
the ongoing development of a workforce with the skills and capabilities
to create and scaleup innovative energy technologies and improve
processes over the long-term. Further, the Department is already
closely coordinating with NSF on education, green jobs training, and
workforce development. The Department recognizes the importance of
leveraging NSF resources, and is already taking proactive steps to
solidify a stronger working relationship with our colleagues.
H.R. 957 would facilitate stronger collaboration between the
Department and the National Science Foundation. As written, the
legislation would authorize The Department to fund NSF's flagship
interdisciplinary training program (IGERT) to educate architects and
engineers to collaborate on high performance building technologies and
H.R. 957 assigns priority funding for applications encouraging
partnerships between architectural and engineering schools. These
fields are inextricably intertwined, and can advance energy efficiency
in the design and construction of high performance buildings.
By supporting multidisciplinary graduate education and curriculum
development activities, H.R. 957 will advance the Department's broad
energy technology development mission. The bill recognizes the need to
produce the next generation of engineers and architects who can work
together from design concept to building operation to integrate energy
efficiency and renewable energy more fully into the clean, competitive
economy of the future.
We would note here that the Department is already undertaking
efforts in creating or funding green job training programs through
Through the Recovery Act, the Department is funding approximately
$140 million in training and technical assistance to develop
standardized training curricula for residential energy workers, expand
the number of weatherization training centers, and to create a national
weatherization worker certification framework
To serve the commercial building sector, the Department's Building
Technologies Program has issued a Funding Opportunity Announcement
(FOA) to support the development of training programs for building
technicians, operators, energy auditors, and others responsible for
building and operating high performance commercial buildings. These
programs offer an opportunity to demonstrate how partnerships with the
Department of Labor's public workforce system, labor management
partnerships, education institutions such as community colleges, and
community organizations can meet the workforce needs of the commercial
building sector. The Department of Energy estimates that approximately
$7.5 million will be available for multiple awards under this FOA.
Utilities, colleges, universities, labor organizations, and trade
associations, will be able to apply for over $100 million in grants
issued through a FOA to improve smart grid technology education and
implementation, as well as funding programs and curricula to train or
retrain workers in the electric power sector.
The Department is committed to achieving effective legislation to
train and educate the new energy economy work force. The Department
backs a coordinated, interagency approach and a balanced investment in
education and training opportunities from kindergarten to adult job
training, beyond just buildings. Although a good start, H.R. 957 could
be improved to more fully address the larger issue of energy education,
green jobs creation, and workforce training. I look forward to working
with the Committee to strengthen this legislation.
h.r. 2729--national environmental research parks
The Department's predecessor, the Atomic Energy Commission,
established the first environmental research park in 1972 at the
Savannah River Site in South Carolina in response to recommendations
from the scientific community, other Federal agencies, and Congress.
Between 1972 and 1992 six additional research parks were designated on
The Department sites.
The research parks, located on Department-owned land, represent six
major eco-regions across the U.S. and provide research opportunities on
natural ecosystems as well as on the environmental transport, cycling,
and fate of radionuclides and other contaminants resulting from nuclear
weapon development and testing. While the Department-sponsored
researchers utilize the research parks to conduct high-priority mission
relevant research, research park use is dominated by researchers
sponsored by other Federal agencies including the National Science
Foundation, the Department of Agriculture, Geological Survey, and the
Department of Defense. This is due in large part to the attractiveness
of these areas for general ecological-type research beyond the scope of
the Department. Currently, stewardship of each research park is the
responsibility of its respective laboratory management and operating
contractor, with oversight by the managing Department program office.
H.R. 2729 formally institutionalizes existing research parks by
directing the Secretary to designate six National Environmental
Research Parks as protected outdoor research reserves for the purposes
of conducting long-term environmental research on the impacts of human
activities on the natural environment.
The bill authorizes $30 million annually--$5 million for each of
the National Environmental Research Parks--for the Department's Office
of Science to carry out eco-research and education activities.
As a threshold matter, much of the research contemplated by this
bill is already being performed. This legislation may also have a few
Any official designation of park lands as ``protected
sites'' could impede the parks' future use for mission priority
activities and could restrict the Department's current
authority at the proposed sites.
While the research parks are well-suited for conducting the
research proposed by the bill, much of this research is outside
the scope of the Department's mission and core competencies. An
example would be H.R. 2729's proposed research regarding the
general ecology of the site and region in addition to
population biology and ecology. Such research should continue
to be supported by other, more appropriate Federal agencies.
The Department recognizes that the current environmental research
parks will continue to be a valuable resource for the overall
scientific community, and we believe the current support arrangement is
working well. As such, current Departmental activities and
authorizations are sufficient.
The Department's Wind Program leads the Nation's efforts to address
the barriers to the acceleration of large-scale deployment of land-
based and offshore wind energy.
The Department's 2008 report, 20% Wind Energy by 2030, outlines an
aggressive scenario in which the U.S. could generate 20% of its
electricity by 2030, and it also identifies the technical and non-
technical barriers that must be overcome in order to achieve this. The
Department's Wind and Hydropower Technologies Program is currently
funding research to address the challenges identified by the report,
which include reducing wind turbine capital costs by improving
reliability, integrating wind energy into the power grid, addressing
environmental and siting concerns, and building the domestic wind
The Department is working to improve reliability of wind
technology, by, among other things, reducing blade and gearbox
failures. These failures present one of the greatest challenges to wind
technology, as they require costly repairs and reduce investor
confidence. To reduce the risk facing new turbine technologies, the
Department is funding the creation of facilities that will help
industry develop the next generation of large wind turbine designs. For
example, a new $45 million large wind turbine drivetrain testing
facility, and a new $25 million large blade test facility capable of
testing 90 meter blades have been recently awarded under Recovery Act
To overcome wind energy integration challenges, the Department is
developing tools and strategies, such as wind forecasting techniques,
which will improve the integration of wind energy with the electrical
grid. The Department is funding two state-of-the-art high penetration
wind integration studies, the Eastern Wind Integration and Transmission
Study and the Western Wind and Solar Integration Study that evaluates
the impact of integrating up to 30% wind energy into the U.S bulk power
To address the environmental and siting challenges, the Department
funds projects that seek to understand and mitigate the impacts of wind
energy development on wildlife. For example, the Department funds work
at Texas Tech University and Kansas State University to assess the
environmental impacts of wind energy on species of grassland birds.
Habitat impacts on grassland species are a particular concern because
extensive wind energy development could take place in grassy regions of
the country. Three other projects funded by the Department will focus
on developing tools to assess habitat risks when siting wind energy
projects. Jones & Stokes Associates, Inc., The Nature Conservancy, and
Pandion Systems, Inc. will each work to develop scalable,
spatiallyexplicit tools to calculate potential environmental impacts
from wind deployment. The Department also provides local and state
governments with resources to help them make informed decisions about
wind power in their communities.
To build the domestic wind manufacturing industry, the Department
works with companies to develop innovative manufacturing processes and
to develop a qualified wind workforce. For example, the Department is
funding PPG Industries in Shelby, NC to improve wind turbine blade
manufacturing processes in partnership with MAGIndustrial Automated
Systems in Hebron, KY. Current blade fabrication technology is labor-
intensive and prone to variability, resulting in incidences of
manufacturing defects\4\. The PPG research will develop an automated
fabrication methodology to deliver precise control of fiberglass
preimpregnated material placement. This effort will reduce blade-to-
blade variability, lower incidences of premature failure, reduce cost
of wind energy, and potentially increase blade manufacturing capability
by as much as 100% when fully implemented by a manufacturer. To ensure
an adequate wind workforce, the Department is funding a project with
Southwest Applied Technology College in Cedar City, Utah, to provide
students with practical and applied wind energy training. The school
will target skilled unemployed workers and minority populations,
especially Hispanic and Native Americans.
\4\ Wetzel, Kyle K. ``Defect-Tolerant Structural Design of Wind
Turbine Blades,'' American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics,
The Department's National Wind Technology Center (NWTC) in Boulder,
Colorado is recognized internationally as a leading wind energy
research and development facility. The NWTC has advanced wind turbine
testing capabilities and provides an ideal site for testing turbines
under extreme conditions; the NWTC experiences strong wind
directionality and gusts up to 85 miles per hour at wind turbine hub
height. This year, the NWTC installed a 1.5 MW wind turbine, the first
utility-scale turbine to be owned by the Department, as well as a 2.3
MW turbine operated in partnership with industry. These turbines are
fully instrumented to act as test platforms for future R&D to further
improve the reliability and performance of wind turbine components and
to reduce the cost of wind energy. For example, load data from the
foundations of these two research turbines will be used to help codify
a national standard for permitting requirements of utility scale wind
turbines. A uniform permitting standard would provide a significant
improvement to the current patchwork regulatory schemes imposed on wind
h.r. 3165--wind energy research and development act of 2009
This legislation authorizes $200 million annually through 2014 for
a cumulative investment of $1 billion dollars. H.R. 3165 authorizes the
Department to carry out a wind R&D program to improve the energy
efficiency, reliability, and capacity of wind turbines through new
materials and technologies, optimize the design and adaptability of
wind energy systems, and reduce the cost of construction, generation,
and maintenance of wind energy systems. Finally, the bill requires the
Department to fund merit-reviewed, cost-shared demonstration projects
conducted in collaboration with industry.
The Department currently has $80 million in appropriated funding
for FY 2010 to pursue RD&D of wind energy technologies. The activities
authorized in H.R. 3165 are largely consistent with much of the work
currently underway at the Department, and with the Department's 20%
Wind Energy by 2030 report, which identified the barriers and pathways
for supplying 20 percent of the Nation's electricity from wind energy
by 2030. Using ARPA-E funding, the Department has been able to finance
breakthrough wind technologies, High Efficiency Shrouded Wind Turbine,
FloDesign (Wilbraham, MA)\5\ and Adaptive Turbine Blades: Blown Wing
Technology for Low-Cost Wind Power, PAX Streamline Inc. (San Rafael,
CA)\6\, which are consistent with the wind program's goals.
\5\ FloDesign Wind Turbine Corporation (Wilbraham, MA) will develop
a new shrouded, axial-flow wind turbine known as the Mixer Ejector Wind
Turbine (MEWT), which is capable of delivering significantly more
energy per unit swept area with greatly reduced rotor loading as
compared to existing horizontal axis wind turbines (HAWT). Prototypes
will be built and tested, demonstrating the advantages of lightweight
materials and a protective shroud that will reduce noise and safety
concerns and accelerate distributed wind applications.
\6\ PAX Streamline, Inc (San Rafael, CA), along with Georgia Tech
Research Institute, will lead a project to adapt Blown Wing technology
for wind turbines, culminating in a 100 kW prototype. Circulation
control technology or ``Blown Wing'' technology creates a virtual
airfoil by jetting compressed air out of orifices along a wing and has
the potential to radically simplify the manufacture and operation of
wind turbines. Unlike a fixed airfoil, a Blown Wing can be dynamically
adjusted to maximize power under a wide range of wind conditions, and
can be generated from a slotted extruded pipe that can be domestically
manufactured at a fraction of the cost.
H.R. 3165 recognizes the need to resolve the impacts of wind
turbines on federal radar assets. These radars are used to ensure
aviation safety, support homeland security, protect military assets,
and enable timely weather warnings for public safety. The
Administration realizes this is a critical unresolved issue.
The Department would like to work with Congress to tighten Section
3's proposed demonstration program to reflect the development status
and needs of the wind industry. We urge the Committee to consider
placing special emphasis on the demonstration of innovative offshore
wind technologies, including integrated systems, components,
structures, materials and infrastructure. Domestic, pre-commercial,
leading edge technologies remain the most appropriate investment for a
robust demonstration program. The U.S. has yet to install a single
offshore wind turbine while Europe has over 1500 MW installed and a
target of 40,000 MW by 2020. Investment by the U.S. government is
critical for development of a domestic industry. There are numerous
offshore wind projects proposed in the Great Lakes, such as the
Cuyahoga County Project in Lake Erie, and numerous projects in the
Northeast that should be supplied by U.S. manufacturers.
The Department asks that the legislation include a specific
authorization for environmental research. One set of persistent issues
facing the wind industry are the environmental impacts associated with
wind power facilities. Project developers must not only finance,
construct, and maintain wind farms, but must also consider the effects
of wind energy systems on the surrounding environment. As written,
researching the impact of turbines on wildlife and natural habitats
could be funded under the Section 12(b)(12) ``catch-all'' provision of
this bill that enables the Secretary to determine if the Department
should perform research in addition to the prescribed areas. However,
given the significance of environmental issues associated with wind
energy systems deployment, the Department would like to see a greater
emphasis on addressing this important area of research in collaboration
with other responsible federal agencies.
The Department is currently funding efforts to evaluate the
possible benefits of certain energy storage technologies to assist with
wind integration. Areas of study include how the suite of power system
flexibility options (including energy storage) can best be utilized to
address wind variability issues; evaluation of the use of hydropower to
assist with wind integration; and the study of how storage technologies
can be integrated into wind power components to extend equipment
\7\ DOE is currently funding energy storage research through the
Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (OE), and pumped-
storage hydropower research and development through the Office of
Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy's Wind and Hydropower
Technologies Program. The Wind Program works with these parties to
coordinate and collaborate, but feels that continuing to fund these
activities under the offices that are already working on storage makes
more sense than creating separate storage activities in the Wind R&D
s. 2773--offshore wind energy research, development, demonstration, and
commercial application act of 2009
Only very recently has the U.S. government invested significantly
in offshore wind technology research and development, and consequently,
no domestic offshore wind systems or manufacturing base exist for the
sector. In FY 2009 and FY 2010 the Federal Government began investing
in offshore wind technologies, including an $8 million Recovery Act
funded consortia led by the University of Maine that will deploy two
floating offshore turbine prototypes and conduct research to optimize
the design of floating platforms, while also providing wind energy
career educational opportunities for university students.
S. 2773 authorizes $50 million annually from FY 2011 through FY
2021, for a cumulative investment of $500 million. S. 2773 requires the
Department to carry out a comprehensive program of research,
demonstration, and development of commercial applications for offshore
wind energy to improve the efficiency, reliability, and capacity of
offshore wind energy systems, at all water depths, while reducing costs
throughout the supply chain.
Further, the legislation supports offshore wind resource assessment
work, while considering the technologies' environmental impacts,
benefits, and mitigation techniques for marine ecosystems and industry.
This research would also address the unique challenges to generating
energy offshore, including siting and permitting issues, exclusion
zones, and transmission needs.
S. 2773 also authorizes the Department to award grants to
institutions of higher education to establish one or more national
offshore wind centers that meet specified requirements to focus on
deepwater offshore floating wind energy technologies.
S. 2773's authorization levels and timeframe appear consistent with
prior Departmental and industry assessments necessary to deploy a
national offshore R&D program focused on lowering deployment costs,
ensuring high technical reliability, facilitating economic
revitalization of U.S. port facilities, and mitigating environmental
The Department estimates that only one-third of the cost of an
installed offshore wind energy facility is represented by the wind
turbine itself. Therefore, lowering the cost of offshore wind requires
additional focus on electrical grids, project operation and
maintenance, and installation and staging costs. The bill's
authorization language should include research aimed at optimizing
installation methodology, electrical transmission design, operations
and maintenance practices, installation vessel design, and
manufacturing and assembly. With no offshore wind turbines currently
deployed in U.S. waters, this type of government support will be
integral to accelerating early-stage offshore wind development.
While the Department supports the establishment of a comprehensive
national R&D program for offshore wind, Section 4 of the bill
authorizing a national offshore wind energy center\8\ [emphasis added]
is overly prescriptive and duplicative of the Department's recently
announced deepwater offshore wind R&D award to a consortium led by the
University of Maine. Three examples of S. 2773's language can
illustrate why such a prescriptive approach may overlook opportunities
for offshore wind. First, Section 4(b)(4) requires each ``center'' to
have access to the Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, or the Pacific
Ocean. This language precludes the Department from funding a center on
the Great Lakes, which have significant offshore wind energy potential
and have begun to attract investment from developers, such as the
Cuyahoga County Project in Lake Erie. Second, although R&D on offshore
wind in shallow and transitional depths is authorized by the bill, the
national center created by the bill is restricted to only deepwater
offshore wind systems. This legislative treatment favors one offshore
technology over the R&D needs of shallow and transitional depth waters,
with little policy or technical justification. Finally, Section 4's
language requiring that universities be designated as lead institutions
may prove to be an unnecessary constraint on otherwise qualified
consortia applying to establish offshore wind centers.
\8\ In short, the Wind Program supports the R&D section of the
bill, but does not feel that it is appropriate to designate a national
center at this time because the technology is new and committing to
fund one or a small number of centers may ``lock in'' the technology
development to the specific attributes of that location e.g. local
technology expertise, physical attributes such as water depth of the
nearest site for offshore development, turbine designs optimized for
the wind speeds at that particular location, etc.
The Department supports establishing a comprehensive National
Offshore Wind Energy R&D Program as contemplated by S. 2773 in which
multiple research, development, and demonstration projects play a
critical role. Such projects should be established through grants
awarded on a competitive basis.
h.r. 3246--advanced vehicles technology act of 2009
Department-funded research has contributed heavily to the
advancement of vehicle technologies. The advanced vehicle technologies
in the Department's research portfolio can significantly reduce
petroleum consumption, thereby strengthening our national energy
security through both fuel substitution and energy efficiency. For
example, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles with a 40-mile electric range
using cellulosic E85 have the potential to reduce petroleum consumption
by as much as 85% compared to conventional gasoline-powered internal
combustion engine vehicles.\9\ The Department is not only developing
the technologies to make vehicles more energy efficient, but is also
considering the full life cycle impact of cars on the environment. For
example, the Department research produced a 40 percent weight savings
on a per-part basis for a mid-sized automobile with the development of
quick plastic forming aluminum. We have also developed technology to
reduce commercial vehicles' engine cradle (structural element that
supports the engine) weight by 65-70 percent using magnesium.
Currently, the Department is involved in the commercialization of a
process that can salvage nearly all of the plastic in a vehicle
(approximately 10% of the average vehicle's weight), not only
preventing landfill waste but also displacing oil and natural gas and
reducing the cost of plastics through recycling.
\9\ Argonne National Laboratory Greenhouse Gases, Regulated
Emissions, and Energy Use in Transportation (GREET) Model. Emissions
associated with direct and indirect land-use change are not considered
in this analysis.
Other examples of technologies developed by the Department and
being used by Industry include:
Every U.S. hybrid vehicle sold has intellectual property from
the Department's Nickel Metal Hydride battery research, and
Chrysler plans to begin production on a Cummins engine
incorporating the Department's technologies which make its
internal combustion engine operate cleaner and more
efficiently. Lastly, collaborating with New Flyer, the
Department co-developed the technology for hybrid transit
buses, technology which has migrated to other applications such
as light trucks and crossover vehicles.
The Department supports H.R. 3246, as the current Vehicle
Technologies Program funding authorization expires at the end of FY
2010. We believe the bill generally covers an appropriate technology
portfolio, includes well-placed interest in heavy-duty vehicles, and is
well aligned with prior year Program budgets.
The Department agrees with the suite of technologies authorized in
H.R. 3246. However, the inclusion of hydrogen and fuel cell activities
in H.R. 3246 would result in duplicative authorizations and potential
budgetary issues. Currently, Title VIII of the Energy Policy Act of
2005 (EPAct 2005) serves as the authorizing language for the
Department's hydrogen and fuel cell activities, and does not sunset
until FY 2020. It is likely that hydrogen and fuel cell activities were
included in H.R. 3246's activity list only because several hydrogen
activities were included in the Vehicle Technologies FY 2009
appropriation. However, these activities were moved back to the Fuel
Cell Program for FY 2010, and are no longer part of Vehicle
Therefore, the Department respectfully requests to continue to rely
on EPAct 2005's authorizations for the Department's Fuel Cell Program
activities. The EPAct 2005 authorizing language provides sufficient
authorization for current DOE activities, and removing H.R. 3246's
hydrogen and fuel cell reference would avoid any unintended
complications that can result from duplicative authorizations.
H.R. 3246 would enable the Department to build on the Department's
continuing efforts to improve existing vehicle technologies, as well as
emphasizing other modes of transportation to significantly reduce
passenger and commercial vehicle miles traveled. We look forward to
working with the Committee and the Congress on this important
h.r. 3585--solar technology roadmap act
The goal of the Department's present Solar Energy Technologies
Program is to make solar energy technologies cost-competitive with
conventional grid electricity by 2015 and to enable a high penetration
of solar generation energy within the U.S. This goal drives a number of
projects and initiatives relating to photovoltaic (PV) and
concentrating solar power (CSP) technologies and requires examination
of critical issues relating to grid integration and the transformation
of markets for solar technologies.
We appreciate the strong Congressional support shown for solar
technology development. The Recovery Act provides $118 million for
solar initiatives, In October, the Advanced Research Projects
Administration-Energy (ARPA-E) announced approximately $17.7
million\10\ in solar grants, and Congress recently appropriated $225
million in FY 2010 for the Department's Solar Program. This funding
enables the Department to make prudent investments in applied research
to further reduce the costs of solar technologies. I'd like to
highlight a few of the R&D efforts currently underway at the
Innovations arising from Department -funded R&D in the areas
of thin-film solar cells, high-efficiency single-crystal solar
cells, and very high efficiency gallium arsenide solar cells
have since been commercialized by companies such as First Solar
in Ohio, Sunpower in California, and Boeing/Spectrolab, also in
California. In August 2009, the Department announced over $37
million\11\ of awards for early-stage company investments--
including those made through the Small Business Innovative
Research program--and $14 million in investment through the
national laboratories. This includes $5 million invested in CSP
technologies. We are currently working on the next generation
of solar technologies including kerfless wafering and
atmospheric thin film processing, which can lead to broader
market impact, lower manufacturing cost, and increased
The Department is also investing in balance-of-systems (BOS)
technologies, the most significant cost barrier for PV. BOS
technologies are necessary to support full solar electricity
generation systems, but are separate from, for example, the
actual PV panel. BOS costs include items like inverters that
allow connection with the electric grid; they can account for
as much as half the total installed cost of a solar electricity
generation system, and so create substantial barriers to
lowering the cost of solar energy. As an example of the
Department's commitment in this area, the Department recently
announced awards for up to $11.8 million to five companies to
develop new inverter technologies under our Solar Energy Grid
Integration Systems program. Overall, we invested approximately
$122 million in this area in 2009, including $16 million in CSP
technologies. Some of these funds are going toward development
of inverters with advanced nano-material transformers that
provide lighter weight, longer life, and lower cost as well as
advanced residential control systems that can effectively
managed PV panels along with other household renewable and
conventional power systems to maximize time-of-day energy use.
The Department is increasing its investment in large-scale
demonstrations of integrated photovoltaics and CSP systems. As
part of funding received through the Recovery Act, the
Department recently announced $37.5 million in high-penetration
solar deployment projects. Carried out by universities, and
utilities, with national laboratory partners to assess the
technologies, these projects seek to assess the impacts of high
levels of solarenergy penetration on the electric grid.
Investigations will include both voltage and frequency behavior
of the distribution and transmission feeder portions of the
grid in the presence of clear and intermittent solar
conditions. This information is important to defining a path
for 10% or greater penetration levels of solar in the grid and
also in defining the requirements for grid energy storage use.
H.R. 3585, the Solar Technology Roadmap Act, as currently drafted,
significantly alters the form and function of the Department's solar
energy RD&D. We would like to draw the Committee's attention to
concerns we have with the consequences of this alteration. First, the
bill in effect changes the governance of the Department's Solar
Program. Second, it changes the emphasis of the Program from cost
effectiveness of technology to instead following a prescribed mix of
solar demonstration projects.
H.R. 3585 provides the Department an authorization level of $350
million in FY 2011, rising in $50 million increments to $550 million in
FY 2015. The aggregate authorization would total $2.25 billion over
four years, far exceeding any previous authorization levels.
We note, however, that H.R. 3585 would supplant previous
authorities except for two provisions of the Energy Independence and
Security Act of 2007 (EISA). It would become the de facto authorizing
language for the Department's solar activities.
Our first and greatest concern is that Sections 103 and 108 of the
bill require the Department to form a semi-autonomous Committee that
will largely govern the solarenergy activities at the Department. The
proposed committee would be charged with producing a comprehensive
analysis of recommendations for investing Federal RD&D dollars over
near-, mid-, and long-term horizons based on current issues and
barriers facing the industry. As written, the proposed legislation
binds the Department's R&D efforts to the recommendations of the
Roadmap Committee, requiring the Department to follow the Committee's
recommendations for 75 percent of all appropriations by 2015. We urge
the Congress instead to stipulate that the Committee would provide the
kinds of non-binding advice and recommendations traditionally provided
by publicly-chartered Federal advisory committees.
Our second concern is that Section 105 specifies a solar-technology
demonstration plan that may not embody the most appropriate scale of
projects encompassing the most effective mix of technologies, as might
be determined by the Secretary.
As written, the proposed legislation prescribes a particular
schedule of future solar demonstration projects, specified both with
regard to project scale and with regard to technology mix. These
particular project sizes and technology mixes may not provide the
largest benefit to the Nation under future conditions which we are not
likely to be able to foresee with any clarity.
While the Department welcomes the support that the proposed
legislation would provide to solar research and development, the
Department is concerned that the legislation as written may not
maximize public benefits.
The existing Solar Program actively solicits and receives input
from stakeholders in industry, the national laboratories, and academia,
through its use of peer-review as well as from other formal and
informal discussions over many years. For example, as part of an effort
to develop a PV Manufacturing Initiative, the Solar Program worked this
fall with the National Academies of Science to hold two day-long
workshops with industry and other participants to discuss the needs of
the industry and the role of the Federal Government to promote the
domestic industry and industry standards.
The Solar Program is also now working with industry representatives
and others to develop a Solar Vision Study which will look at
opportunities to achieve 10-20 percent of the Nation's electricity
generation from solar technologies by 2030. We intend to strengthen our
external review process in the near future with an advisory board--
which can be viewed as somewhat analogous to the Roadmap Committee
envisioned in the draft bill--that will meet several times a year to
review the entire solar program.
While we welcome additional industry input and funding for
demonstration projects the Department is particularly concerned about
this bill's practical effects, which are to constrain the flexibility
the Department has to respond to diverse sources of information and
exploit new breakthroughs in technology development, such as those made
through investment in ARPA-E grants and the HUBs.
The Department strongly urges the Committee to consider the above
concerns when reviewing the proposed legislation. Providing the most
effective solar technology research and development programs requires
the Secretary and The Department to make a series of constantly
evolving judgments. It is important that we be allowed to call on
multiple sources of information when we formulate our solar technology
R&D priorities, and that we be responsive to provided information, even
information that will only become available as R&D programs and
national markets progress.
s. 737--biofuels rd&d for nonroad engines
Through RD&D efforts geared toward the development of integrated
biorefineries, the Biomass Program is helping transform the Nation's
renewable and abundant biomass resources into cost competitive, high
performance biofuels, bioproducts, and biopower. To that end, the
Biomass Program's R&D efforts support the goal of the EISA's Renewable
Fuel Standard that requires 36 billion gallons of renewable fuel by
DOE is currently evaluating the impact of engine durability and
emissions for use of higher ethanol blends in vehicles and small
nonroad engines. The Department has completed emissions' lifetime
testing of hand-held lawn and garden equipment, including line
trimmers, leaf blowers, and generators. These results are reported in
Effects of Intermediate Ethanol Blends on Legacy Vehicles and Small
Nonroad Engines, Report 1--Updated\12\, which is available online.
\12\ The report is available online at http://www.nrel.gov/docs/
Over the past two years and pursuant to this small nonroad engine
effort, the Department has coordinated with the engine industry to
identify key issues, testing needs, and additional participants.
Spearheaded by the small non-road industry's Engine Manufacturers
Association and the automotive and oil industries' Coordinating
Research Council, this effort will result shortly in a compilation of
industry input and opinions.
S. 737 clarifies to the ``Biofuels Distribution and Advanced
Biofuels Infrastructure'' Program authorization in EISA Section 248.
The proposed legislation amends both the scope of the program in
Section 248(a) to include the impact of biofuels on small engines, as
well as requiring that impact on small engines be a focus area in
Section 248(b). As enacted, the current program's authorization
language does not preclude the Department from undertaking these
activities, and the legislation's section 248(b)(9) provides an
additional ``catch-all'' provision that the Secretary could use to
implement such a program.
By supporting the investigation of problems associated with the use
of biofuels in small nonroad efforts, S. 737 is in line with research
needs already identified by the Department concerning use of higher
renewable fuel blends necessary to meet Renewable Fuel Standard
requirements. The Department is already working on research in this
area, under its existing authorizations in both its Biomass and Vehicle
Technologies Programs. In particular, the Department is funding testing
of chainsaws, motorcycles, snowmobiles, and marine engines. Thus, S.737
may be useful only to the extent that it underscores Congress' explicit
support for this effort.
It is also worth noting that EISA's original Section 248, which S.
737 amends, did not prescribe any authorization levels for the program,
and specific authorizations to carry out this section have not been
The Department understands the need to investigate potential issues
with the utilization of higher-biofuel blends in small nonroad engines
and already funds a number of research projects on nonroad engines. As
a result, the Department does not see a need for this amendment.
s. 1617--investments for manufacturing process and clean technology
act of 2009
The Department appreciates the committee's support to improve
energy efficiency across the manufacturing sector. I am pleased to note
that the Department is already working to carry out many of the bill's
Through a variety of programs, the Department provides assistance
to energy infrastructure investment to businesses of all sizes. The
Loan Guarantee Program (LGPO), Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block
Grants (EECBG), and Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program
all act as funding mechanisms to address the Nation's energy
infrastructure and generation needs.
Structurally, the Office of Energy Efficiency's (EE) Block Grant
program most closely resembles S. 1617's proposal to create revolving
loan funds to the states. A portion of the EE block grant structure is
specifically targeted towards the creation of revolving loan funds and
may be reinforced by recent House legislation.\13\ Through the Recovery
Act, $37 million\14\ was announced to support SBIR with an emphasis on
near-term commercialization and job creation. And although current Loan
Guarantee solicitations do not have special provisions to promote the
award of loans to small businesses, LGPO is in the process of
developing a Manufacturing Solicitation that would be open to Small and
Medium Enterprises (SMEs) under our Financial Institutional Partnership
Program (FIPP). Through the current solicitation, LGPO will continue to
finance construction of manufacturing plants, as it did with its first
loan guarantee award to Solyndra, Inc. of Fremont, CA, a SME.
\13\ H.R. 2936: Bill to Underwrite Increased Lending to Domestic
(BUILD) Manufacturing Act http://www.govtrack.us/congress/
Concerning Sec 137 (bb)(2), the Department, in consultation with
the Department of Commerce, should make the determination of what is
and is not an energy efficient product. Such a structure would be
consistent with the longstanding positive working relationship between
the two agencies on programs such as the EnergyStar rating system. We
recommend changing the authority from the Secretary of Commerce to the
Secretary of Energy, in consultation with the Secretary of Commerce.
The Department has a track record of collaboration with other
federal and State programs, including a Memorandum of Understanding
between DOE's EERE and the Department of Commerce's Manufacturing
Extension Partnership Program. The Department stands ready to work with
this Committee and DOC to consider how the bill can be improved to draw
upon the Department's deep domain knowledge and build off of the
Department's existing programs.
s. 2744--carbon dioxide capture technology act of 2009
EPAct 2005 authorized the Department to implement several prize
competitions for breakthroughs in RD&D and commercial applications of
energy technologies. Specifically, EPAct 2005 authorized the Freedom
Prize to reduce the country's dependence on foreign oil by rewarding
innovative deployment of existing technologies in industry, the
military, schools, governmental entities, and communities. EISA amended
EPAct 2005 to include additional prize competitions, including the
Hydrogen Prize (H-Prize) and the Bright Tomorrow Lighting Prize (L-
Prize). The HPrize sought to provide incentives and reward advances in
technologies, components, or systems related to hydrogen production,
storage, distribution, and utilization, while the LPrize seeks to spur
the development of ultra-efficient solid-state lighting products. The
proposed legislation would authorize another DOE competition in another
area of research--carbon capture.
S. 2744 would authorize the Department to create a new carbon
dioxide capture technology prize, a ``C-Prize,'' to foster novel
technologies that separate carbon dioxide from dilute sources.
The Department and the Administration consider carbon capture to be
an essential tool in the mitigation of GHG emissions. A cost-effective
technology that could significantly contribute to the mitigation of
atmospheric carbon emissions would be consistent with the goals and
objectives of the Administration.
While the bill provides authorization to establish a C-Prize, it
sets no parameters for award amounts, which would of course be subject
The Board authorized in the bill may qualify as a Federal Advisory
Committee, which would be subject to Federal Advisory Committee Act
Under Section 7, the bill states that the ``applicant will agree to
vest the intellectual property of the application derived from the
technology in 1 or more entities that are incorporated in the U.S.''.
The S. 2744's Intellectual Property language is a significant departure
from previous prize legislation. The Department is concerned that the
language will deter qualified applicants from entering the competition.
The bill additionally requires C-Prize recipient(s) to vest patents in
an entity or entities incorporated in the U.S., and it prohibits the
transfer of title to other than U.S. incorporated entities until
expiration of the first patent issued. However, the bill does little to
protect U.S. technology investment because (1) any foreign company can
incorporate a subsidiary in the U.S. for a nominal fee; and (2) the
language does not prevent the U.S. corporation from licensing its
patents to foreign companies or prevent the U.S. corporation from
manufacturing outside the U.S. Furthermore, the vesting language,
without clarification, may discourage existing U.S. companies from
competing, for fear that their investment may be diluted by forced
licensing and transfer or assignment of patent rights.
The Department urges the Committee to consider these concerns when
reviewing the proposed legislation. The recommendations of the
Committee established in the legislation should not be prescriptive,
but rather should serve as one of several sources of information the
Department can call upon when formulating its carbon capture technology
Madam Chairman, this concludes my testimony. Again, I thank you for
the opportunity to testify before this Committee, and I would be
pleased to respond to your questions.
Senator Cantwell. Thank you very much for your testimony.
Senator Barrasso, did you want to make a statement now?
Senator Barrasso. I would, but I was going to then enter
into questioning as well. So I'd be happy to----
Senator Cantwell. We'll start with the questions then.
Under Secretary, on this curriculum development on 9957,
how is it, you know, your energize program which is about
developing curriculum. How do you explain the differences
between this bill and that program? I know that we've also had
some Department of Labor money that's gone out for like the
wired grants and things of that nature for curriculum
Ms. Johnson. Right. This particular bill calls for the
Department of Energy to provide funding to the National Science
Foundation for an IDGERT Grant, Inter Disciplinary Graduate
Education Research and Training Grant. I actually, when I was a
professor at the University of Colorado, had one of these
They're quite good. They're cross disciplinary in a
particular subject. But they can be a broad subject across the
entire science and technology field.
RE-ENERGYSE which is REgaining our ENERGY Science and
Engineering Edge program was inspired by President Obama's
State address to the National Academies in April. It really is
focused on energy technologies K through 20 plus. So it's
looking at outreach for K through 12 to use energy to stimulate
our young people to go into science, engineering, technology
and math subjects.
It provides scholarship programs for students to attend
higher education in both community college as well as 4 year
research universities. Internship programs for students. It
provides opportunity then for students to go on to graduate
work, post docs, on to become re-trained in energy, so that we
ultimately are trying to attract our best and brightest to go
into the energy fields and help us continue the momentum in
building clean energy technology.
So I would say the difference is in the one case we're
looking at RE-ENERGYSE to look at all the energy portfolio.
This particular bill focuses on just connecting building
engineers and architects together to work together on one, I
would say, more narrow field. So we support a broad education
bill that would help us to really impact the entire energy
Senator Cantwell. Who do think should be responsible for
the more near term issues of curriculum and development?
Ms. Johnson. Who in terms of?
Senator Cantwell. I'm sorry. Agencies.
Ms. Johnson. Agencies?
Senator Cantwell. Department of Energy? Because this is the
new partnering with National Science Foundation.
Ms. Johnson. Right.
Senator Cantwell. I don't know if you've ever done
something like that before.
Ms. Johnson. Yes. Right.
Senator Cantwell. Usually joint partnerships don't always,
from an oversight perspective, kind of, can get lost in the
focus. But I'm just--if you're looking at this from a broad
perspective, we see a lot of activity now where we have
emerging technologies and emerging industries. So----
Ms. Johnson. Right.
Senator Cantwell. If we want to help accelerate that, then
you can provide a lot of help for the curriculum development
that needs to take place today. Most of these companies are so
new and so young. They don't have time to do the curriculum
They're just doing the hiring. But they can't find the work
force because we haven't done the curriculum training.
Ms. Johnson. Right.
Senator Cantwell. So I was just curious as to how you saw
that activity fitting into, if that's a DOE portfolio issue or
do you think that belongs at Department of Labor? Somewhere
Ms. Johnson. Thank you for your patience, Senator, and
amplifying upon that question. So there are several areas where
Department of Energy is already working with the National
Science Foundation. We have what's called the SULI Program
which is Summer Undergraduate Laboratory Internships which is
also an area in re-energize.
RE-ENERGYSE is a joint program with the National Science
Foundation and the Department of Energy. So we use the
laboratories, the 17 laboratories in Department of Energy, as a
place where students the National Science Foundation has
reached out to and helped identify can go for a summer
We also have the FAST Program, which are Faculty and
Student Teams, that is joint with the National Science
Then the National Science Foundation and our Office of
Electricity Delivery and Transmission work together on an I/
UCRC Program which is an industry university center in power
We have a history of programs that have worked well. I do
see that there's a natural way to partner between NSF which
developed a beautiful program, a beautiful set of programs in
the education realm and funds curriculum with the deep domain
knowledge that Department of Energy brings to the table. So I
think that this is a natural area for us to collaborate across
the entire energy spectrum.
I think that in terms of curriculum development, I think
that that's something, that as you pointed out quite rightly,
companies don't have time to do. But universities working in
isolation probably won't develop the kind of programs that
industry needs. So again, it needs to be a partnership.
I think that this is where industry and these two
government agencies can come together to create some very
powerful programs. So we're supportive of the legislation just
we'd like to see it broadened a bit.
Senator Cantwell. Thank you. On S. 2729, on the energy
parks, I don't see the environmental research park at Hanford
listed in there. If this were to become law would the
Department support including one at Hanford?
Ms. Johnson. If this were to become law we would see that
in the future that it would be possible to examine Hanford in
becoming part of it. I think right now we still have a bit of
clean up to do to get it ready to be transitioned into this
kind of facility which traditionally has supported ecology work
and environmental work with USGS and Department of Ag and
Department of Defense as well as the Department of Energy. So I
think further down the road when it's ready and fully cleaned
up to transition I would----
Senator Cantwell. You don't think there's enough land there
that it's able to transitioned now?
Ms. Johnson. There certainly is a lot of land as I noticed
on my visit. I'm just not sure how much of that land would be
ready and fully cleaned up and be able to be qualified to be--
Senator Cantwell. I think the things that we're talking
about now are, you know, very far from the cleanup sites and
quite massive. So anyway, we'll get back to you on that issue.
Ms. Johnson. Ok, thank you.
Senator Cantwell. Senator Stabenow, did you have?
Senator Stabenow. Yes, I did. Thank you very much.
Senator Cantwell. We're going in order of attendance.
Senator Stabenow. Thank you. I do have to leave in a moment
to go to the floor. So I appreciate this very much.
Specifically, according to the National Academy of Sciences
and DOE, the amount of fuel consumed annually by heavy duty
trucks and buses has more than doubled over the past 35 years.
Ms. Johnson. Right.
Senator Stabenow. It now counts for 21 percent of the total
surface transportation fuel that's used in the United States.
However, it's very questionable that we have had a proportional
level investment in advancing medium and heavy duty
technologies. That's really the reason that I've introduced
this bill and my colleague in the House of Representatives.
It's a comprehensive vehicle R and D bill considering the
full spectrum of transportation needs. You've made heroic
efforts through the DOE on section 136 which I was pleased to
author in the Energy Act a few years ago and battery grants.
But we have a long way to go as it relates to focusing on new
technologies for medium and heavy duty sectors.
So my question is this. To what extent is the DOE working
to transfer new innovations in passenger vehicle R and D that
contribute to the reduction in oil use such as plug in hybrid,
electric vehicle technology into the medium and heavy duty
Second given the fact that given the decline in heavy truck
funding from 86.6 million in the 2002 Federal budget to the
requested amount of 25.2 million for this year, 2009, within
what framework does the Department expect advancements in the
medium/heavy duty sector to come on par with passenger
vehicles? Wondering if your efforts have been constrained by
fluctuations in appropriations? I'm assuming that's a yes.
Senator Stabenow. Would you see the advanced vehicle
technology bill helping you be able to bring that more on par?
Ms. Johnson. Right. First of all let me say we really
appreciate the support that Congress has shown and continue to
show for the advanced vehicles. This work has greatly
contributed to both the light duty as well as the heavy duty
One of the exciting things that I've been able to
participate in is reviewing the heavy duty and being--not
reviewing, but at least being able to observe the American
Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding of about $230 million and
$80 million has been for Super Truck. I think they'll be some
exciting things that will be coming out of that particular
I think that although our funding hasn't been at the same
level in the heavy truck as the light duty truck area, there
are things that we investigate in both areas that are helpful
and overlap, light weighting, fuel efficiency. We look forward
to working with you on your bill in order to see more of the
research go further in demonstration and deployment
opportunities in this area.
Senator Stabenow. I look forward to working with you as
well. I do think given how much we're talking about in terms of
the volume of transportation fuel and where it's used in the
economy that we really need to make this a priority going
forward. So I look forward to working with you.
Ms. Johnson. Thank you, Senator.
Senator Cantwell. Thank you.
Senator Barrasso. Thank you very much, Madame Chairman.
Welcome, Dr. Johnson. It's great to see you again.
I also want to thank the chairman of the full committee,
Senator Bingaman, who has been partnering with me on the
introduction on the piece of legislation that you'd referred
to, the Carbon Dioxide Capture Technology Act of 2009.
Ms. Johnson. Right.
Senator Barrasso. This is a bill that he and I have jointly
introduced in the last month. I had introduced a similar bill
in the last session of Congress. But working with Senator
Bingaman in his leadership and knowledge, I think we have a
much improved bill. I'm very grateful to have him as a co-
sponsor of this.
You know, some in this body and when you and I talked
before your confirmation, some in this body have discussed
various proposals to regulate the output of carbon dioxide
through a cap and trade approach. Others have advocated a
carbon tax. Those are two ends of the same problem in
addressing greenhouse gas emissions.
But overlooked is the excess carbon dioxide already in the
atmosphere. This is the carbon dioxide that we're concerned
about and that the bill specifically addressed. The best
science tells us that excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere
is a contributing factor in the issue of global climate change
and to what extent there is considerable debate.
It would seem to me a worthy approach to find a way to
remove excess existing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and
then permanently sequester it. That's the other end of the
problem. Some people refer to it as air capture.
I've a letter from Klaus Leisinger, who is the Ewing-Worzel
professor of Geophysics at Columbia University, the Chair of
the Department of Earth and Environmental Engineering, calls it
dilute capture of carbon dioxide. Professor Leisinger believes
this is a particular long term importance in terms of this
global issue. So to accomplish this we're certainly going to
need to invest the money to develop the technology. How do we
best do that?
So the approach that Senator Bingaman and I have in this
piece of legislation takes this through a series of financial
prizes where we, through your Department, set technological
goals and outcomes. Then the first to meet these, the criteria,
would receive Federal funds and also international acclaim. I
think that prizes are a unique tool in creating technological
The government already offers prizes. Department of
Energy's prize, the L Prize, there's also NASA's Centennial
Challenge Program. The economist recently reported on NASA's
competition to create a new lunar lander for future moon
exploration. The article says that NASA's system of prizes and
then I'll quote, ``spurs technological development using the
twin lures,'' it says, ``of hard cash and the kudos of being
officially recognized as cleverer than your peers.''
Senator Barrasso. Scientists love to be recognized that
way. I think that's kind of more than the money, is the
recognition. So I think that the prizes are/can be a unique
tool for fostering technological advances.
So Madame Chairman, what I'd like to do, if I could is
submit as a part of the record this letter* from the Professor
from Columbia University talking about dilute capture of
carbon, who goes on to say that this can be done anywhere at
any time. It's particularly well suited to start small in niche
markets and would be very good for prize forum.
* See Appendix II.
Senator Cantwell. Without objection.
Senator Barrasso. Thank you very much, Madame Chairman.
So what I heard, Dr. Johnson, from you is that you support
this effort but had some legitimate concerns. We are looking,
Senator Bingaman and I, are looking at improving this bill
because we want to see this succeed.
Ms. Johnson. Right.
Senator Barrasso. We want this technology developed. I
think you said you had some concerns about intellectual
Ms. Johnson. Right.
Senator Barrasso. In your written testimony some issues
about the latitude that the Department might need. I just
wonder if you had some thoughts on that. If you'd be willing,
you and your Department, to work with Senator Bingaman and with
me in finding ways to improve the bill and then getting this
passed and getting those scientists motivated.
Ms. Johnson. Right. Certainly we would love to work with
you and Senator Bingaman too, on this bill. We think that
greenhouse gas emissions are a big problem facing the planet.
All the tools that we can employ in order to move forward on
this problem are welcome.
The only, I would say, issue with regard to intellectual
property is that the individuals that would be eligible for the
prize from my reading of the bill would be companies that were
incorporated in the U.S. or would vest those patents in the
U.S. The only concern we have is perhaps that would deter some
applicants from applying and helping solve the problem. That
was all the concerns.
So sure we absolutely look forward to working with you,
Senator, on this bill.
Senator Barrasso. Good. As you know we really didn't even
set dollar figures on the prize because we felt that----
Ms. Johnson. Right.
Senator Barrasso [continuing]. Would be best done by a
committee that came together through the Department under the
leadership there to say what kind of motivating factors do we
Ms. Johnson. That would be great. Look forward to it.
Senator Barrasso. Thank you. Thank you, Dr. Johnson.
Ms. Johnson. Thank you.
Senator Barrasso. Thank you very much, Madame Chairman.
Senator Cantwell. Thank you, Senator Barrasso.
Under Secretary Johnson, I'd like to go back to a couple of
these bills just to get your input on further discussion.
Ms. Johnson. Sure.
Senator Cantwell. One is S. 2773, the Offshore Wind Energy
Research Development and Demonstration. Obviously a lot of the
things on the docket today are in the research realm.
Ms. Johnson. Right.
Senator Cantwell. Continuing on renewables. It's my
understanding that there is an agreement between FERC and the
Mineral Management Service on who administers the citing of
offshore facilities. So is the Department working with those
agencies as you look at demonstration projects for offshore?
Ms. Johnson. Right. First of all, again, we look forward to
working with the committee in this very important area. It
turns out that the potential of our offshore wind are thousands
of gigawatts which is very significant compared to the overall
electrical usage in this country.
So it's a tremendous resource. We look forward to working
with the committee on both these bills. They both look at
robust R and D in the area.
S. 2773 is a bill that addresses the deep offshore wind
opportunity. We feel it would be duplicative with work that
we're already funding through the American Recovery and
Reinvestment Act, $8 million for a deep offshore wind center.
So we look forward to working with the committee to incorporate
more inclusive language that wouldn't restrict it just to
certain areas, but able to attack our entire wind resource,
which as I said before, is extensive and would include the
Great Lakes, for example.
Also to include shallow and transitional waters and focus
on not only the cost of the turbine, which is about a third of
the cost of these wind farms, but also focus on the
reliability. How do we get the energy from, you know, deep
offshore or shallow shore, onshore, project maintenance and
installation and staging?
So we are quite interested to work with the committee on
Senator Cantwell. What about the engineering center in
general? Do you support that concept?
Ms. Johnson. We are supporting, as you know, the
engineering centers through our hubs, our energy innovation
hubs. We are supportive of centers, definitely, as a way to
bring together industry, university partners and researchers in
the labs in order to solve these very difficult problems. So we
are supportive of engineering centers.
Senator Cantwell. On S. 737 on the biofuels for small
Ms. Johnson. Right.
Senator Cantwell. What are you--do you think that adding
these additional items will help us? I know the Department is
doing a lot of research on various engine types which we
Ms. Johnson. Right.
Senator Cantwell. We're very proud that we've had a lot of
both Maritime applications in the Pacific Northwest.
Ms. Johnson. Yes.
Senator Cantwell. Research done on biofuels used in our
very fleet that has more people traveling on it annually than
Amtrak. We've had demonstration projects on Boeing planes as
well in biofuels. So we want to keep seeing the research and
development take place.
Do you think that this adding small, non-road engines will
Ms. Johnson. Right. First of all I would like to say thank
you very much to the committee and to Congress for supporting
$800 million in biomass for biofuels applications, for example
in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. We announced
last Friday the integrated bio-refineries, part of that which
was nearly $500 million. So thank you so much for that
opportunity to work in this arena.
Currently we are funding research that covers non-road
engines including snowmobiles, motorcycles, chain saws. We know
that there has to be more work done on hand held devices, 2
stroke engines that right now are not very comfortable with
ethanol. So we have more work to do.
We have no concerns with the bill. It would be certainly
within the portfolio of R and D that we're currently carrying
Senator Cantwell. I know my colleagues, Senators Collins
and Udall, that is a very big concern of theirs, particularly
the seizing that can occur and the injury to individuals with
these chain saws. So we certainly hope that we can look at
those applications and get support for that kind of analysis
On the Solar Technology Roadmap, you mentioned you were
more interested in some non-binding targets on that.
Ms. Johnson. Right.
Senator Cantwell. Could you?
Ms. Johnson. Right.
Senator Cantwell. Could you discuss how you think that?
Ms. Johnson. Sure.
Senator Cantwell. Obviously we could proceed in achieving
some of the goals. If you didn't have the targeted--if you
didn't have the targets be binding?
Ms. Johnson. Yes, absolutely. The bill as written covers a
lot of the areas that we feel are quite important to the whole
solar technologies program. We're quite excited about the level
of funding and the opportunity to work on trying to realize
bringing 10 percent or more of our generation from solar by
It is just the part where 75 percent of the funding would
be under the guidance and direction of a semiautonomous, non-
government group that would have binding authority. We believe
that the Secretary and his staff are in a great position and
should have the authority to manage the solar energy portfolio.
So we'd definitely like to work with the committee on the
language on this particular bill.
We're excited about what it covers. It's just that
particular binding requirement. If it was non-binding and more
of an advisory in guidance that we do quite a lot with our FACA
committees, that would be our preference.
Senator Cantwell. What about the model that is used for
semiconductor industry? Is that appropriate as outlined in the
Ms. Johnson. It calls for a solar energy road map. We're
currently working on one called the Solar Powered Visions. It
is involving industry as well as our DOE laboratories.
So we believe it is a good idea to have a road map. Know
where you're going and what needs to come next. We look forward
to continuing our work with your support in this endeavor.
Senator Cantwell. Ok. I see my colleague from Oregon is
here. Senator Wyden, did you have questions for the Under
Senator Wyden. I do, Madame Chair. Thank you for all the
good work you're doing. You are our champ on this whole cause.
It is great to have a chance to do some work with you on it.
Madame Secretary, let me give you my sense about where we
are on this. I believe that America is missing the boat on the
energy storage issue. I mean, if you look around the country,
this Nation is building gas plants, for example, because we
aren't fully capturing the potential for storing renewable
Ms. Johnson. Right.
Senator Wyden. That makes no sense even by the bizarre ways
of the beltway. It's got to be changed. Do you disagree with
that point I've just made?
Ms. Johnson. I agree that storage is crucial if we're going
to bring on the amount of clean energy renewables, particularly
wind and solar. So the Department of Energy has a study that
we've produced which is 20 percent wind by 2030. We've also
looking at our solar energy road map we're just trying to get
to 10 to 20 percent by 2030.
So we know that level of intermittency which could be 40
percent of our electrical generation cannot be brought onto the
grid in its current function. That's why we're very pleased and
grateful for the funding through the American Recovery and
Reinvestment Act which allows us to do the smart grid
investment grants to try and look at storage and to carry out
demonstrations where we can provide storage as well as a more
Senator Wyden. But on the basic point, I want to make sure
because we're going to have a couple of hearings in here.
Ms. Johnson. Right.
Senator Wyden. This is a question of kind of delivering a
Ms. Johnson. Right.
Senator Wyden. Isn't it fair to say that this country is
missing the boat on energy storage. Literally I'm looking at
press releases from California where they're talking about, you
know, various kinds of,you know, gas generating projects.
Ms. Johnson. Right. Yes.
Senator Wyden. That they're having to put in place because
there has not been the capacity to store it. Isn't that
Ms. Johnson. Yes. Senator Wyden, you're correct in that. In
order for us to bring on the intermittent renewable energy we
need base load energy. Right now that's mainly gas.
Now we can look at battery storage. We can look at pumped
water storage. We can look at compressed air storage.
But in order to bring on this level of intermittency we
will have to have a way to manage that load. Storage is one of
the ways that we are investigating through our various
Senator Wyden. Let's look at the two areas that come to
mind. This afternoon Senator Stabenow has a very fine bill that
I'm a co-sponsor of, obviously dealing with advanced, you know,
vehicle batteries. There's been very significant potential in
terms of hybrid vehicle technology.
Ms. Johnson. Right.
Senator Wyden. A company in Oregon, for example, is even
producing a plug in motorcycle.
Senator Wyden. That can go over 40 miles on a battery
charge without using any gasoline. Now I have sent a letter
recently to Secretary Chu urging that he expand the
Department's program to include vehicles like these motorcycle
efforts. We've got a company in Oregon, Brammo, that has been
involved in this.
What role do you see for energy storage for vehicles,
especially for vehicles other than automobiles?
Ms. Johnson. One of the programs that we're funding through
the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in the smart grid
investment grants is looking at small fleets that are electric
vehicles and plug in hybrid electric vehicles where you store
them, charge them up at night and then run them during the day
as a fleet from a corporate entity, then come back and recharge
them. From this investigation, probably the most important
thing that we'll get out of this is the data about how we
control and utilize the demand of--the interaction I should
say, an integrated system of the storage in batteries of a
fleet of say, up to 1,000 vehicles, then how that would play
with the less demand at night from the generation and storage.
I think that what we will learn is how do we actually
manage these kinds of integrated systems. We'll learn more than
about what kind of storage we need in order to scale that in
the different interconnection regions in the country.
Senator Wyden. Now as far as I can tell, the staff says
much of the rest of the world gets around on small two and
three wheel vehicles. I'm trying to get a sense from you. Is
the DOE working at all on plug in systems for vehicles like
Ms. Johnson. I'm not sure. But I'd be glad to get back to
you for the record.
[The information follows:]
The Department is working on the development of advanced battery
technology, primarily for automotive application in hybrid and electric
drive vehicles. However, the same technology is very applicable to
other types of electric drive vehicles, including electric motorcycles,
motorbikes, and scooters. More specifically, the Department
participates in an international collaboration on battery-powered
electric two-wheelers, under the auspices of the International Energy
Agency (IEA Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Implementing Agreement, Annex
XI, Electric Cycles). Research is directed at battery application
requirements for various market segments and public charging
infrastructure needs for battery powered two-wheelers.
Senator Wyden. Because that's what I'm talking about when I
say and you're going to hear me say this a lot.
Ms. Johnson. Right.
Senator Wyden. As it relates to these upcoming hearings. I
think we are lagging significantly in this energy storage area.
Ms. Johnson. Right.
Senator Wyden. I think when you're looking at what's going
on around the world both in terms of, you know, products and
research we just got to get serious about this and quickly. Let
me ask you then about the other storage question that I care a
great deal about and that's grid connected storage to support
renewables. Here utility storage systems can help generate the
same kind of fossil energy savings by storing the renewables
I've got a bipartisan piece of legislation which has now
been introduced on both sides. It's technology neutral. It
creates investment tax credits to use energy storage
technologies that are directly connected to the grid and also
incentives for businesses and homeowners can install their own
energy storage units.
Now, the committee is also going to be holding a hearing on
grid connected systems on Thursday. But you won't be able to,
you know, be here for that. So my question to you on this is I
wrote the Department last summer suggesting that the agency
look more at how storage systems could complement the
deployment of renewable technologies.
We didn't get a response to that letter either. My question
here is what role do you see for energy storage systems to
support renewable energy development and what can you tell us
you're going to initiate in this area?
Ms. Johnson. If I could go back to your question before
just for a minute in terms of the motorcycles and, you know,
hybrid plug ins and 2 wheel. I would say that nothing that
we're supporting would preclude obviously using those
particular vehicles. I think that one of the things that we've
realized from some of our studies is that well, first of all we
know that of the 19.5 million barrels of oil that we consume a
day that 70 percent of that is going into transportation.
We know that 57 percent of that is imported. So we
appreciate this is a crucial problem, not only for greenhouse
gas emissions, but also for our energy security. So one of the
things that we're quite excited about and working in the
Department on, is improving the efficiency of our internal
combustion engine. The same time building their capability and
compatibility with biofuels. At the same time providing this in
a plug in hybrid electric vehicle whether that's a two wheel or
three wheel or four wheel.
So that involves bringing an integrated system together
that understands storage, understands biofuels and makes our
internal combustion engine run as efficiently as possible. So
our studies have shown that a plug in hybrid electric vehicle
of any kind that would have a 40 mile electric range working
with an E85 cellulosic ethanol, for example, would reduce our
consumption by 85 percent. So some of the things that we're
currently doing that are speaking to that and getting out into
commercialization is that we're looking at light weighting.
So for about every 10 percent you save in light weighting a
vehicle, which of course a two wheeler is pretty light weight
to begin with, you can save up to six to 8 percent in terms of
fuel efficiency. That takes you to about 30 percent of the
light weighting. So we're heavily involved in light weighting.
We've also been heavily involved in some of our battery
technology, in particular the U.S. hybrid vehicles in this
country, their nickel metal hydride battery was developed in
technology from DOE. So we've been heavily involved in hybrid
battery development and storage, been heavily involved in light
weighting, heavily involved in biofuels. So our approach has
really been a systems integration approach.
Now the next step is to integrate it onto the grid. Then to
look at how the storage interplays with the grid and how you
dispatch and flow the electrons to where they are needed and at
times during the day where the load is lighter. So I can say
that, if anything to take away, would be we're looking at it as
an integrated approach. We're definitely looking at storage and
this is actually a very interesting question that you raise
because distributed energy and distributed energy storage
verses very centralized energy production and storage.
So where does it make sense to have pumped hydro as a dam
somewhere that has the capability of storing quite a lot of
power? Then where does it make sense to have a more distributed
system which you might have with the fleet of 1,000 vehicles
that have a smaller battery? This is actually a problem that
we're investigating right now. It's not clear where or how you
parse that distribution.
So appreciate your insight on that. We'll look forward to
coming back and chatting with you about this as we learn more
from these experiments that have been funding through the
Senator Wyden. The reason that I'm asking these questions
is when you, as somebody who is very knowledgeable and I'm glad
you have the position you do. You tell me that there's nothing
that precludes using these two and three wheel vehicles. I'm
saying to myself, as a United States Senator, we've got these
companies, you know, making them.
I'm looking around the world and seeing these two and three
wheeled vehicles out there. I'm saying I want a different
answer than my government saying we won't preclude it. I want
to hear my government say, this is what we're doing to go
gangbusters into a very exciting kind of field. Let's go to the
question of the grid connected systems. So I just have you on
the record on that.
So we've got a piece of legislation, 1091, bipartisan, both
House and Senate, to create these incentive tax credits for
energy storage. That it's directly connected to the grid. It's
also incentives for business and homeowners to install their
own storage units.
I'm asking you, of course, because we're not going to be
able to have you on Thursday. This, of course, is the Energy
Committee. I'll be working with Senator Cantwell because we
also serve on the Finance Committee.
What's your general assessment of the value of that kind of
Ms. Johnson. I'm not familiar with that particular bill
right now. So I'd be glad to provide, for the record, an answer
[The information follows:]
Enhancing our national energy storage capability is an important
tool to improve electric grid reliability and resiliency. Storage
technologies can reduce power fluctuations, enhance system flexibility,
and enable greater integration of variable generation renewable energy
resources such as wind and solar power. The core function of energy
storage is to bridge the gap that exists between the characteristics of
the generation andoad technologies within our electrical system. While
this includes integration of variable generation renewable energy
technologies such as wind and solar, there exist today gaps and
mismatches throughout the grid that stress our infrastructure and would
benefit from the system flexibility that could be introduced via the
deployment of energy storage technologies.
While there are technological and other barriers to widespread
deployment of energy storage systems, one important barrier is
economics. Current costs are high and can discourage investment. S.
1091 will provide a 20 percent tax rebate for a wide variety of grid-
related energy storage applications as well as community and on-site
The Department believes the incentives provided by the bill will
have a significant impact on the deployment of storage on the grid. The
bill covers a wide-range of energy storage technologies and
applications. It will provide incentives for utilities and developers
to employ energy storage to better accommodate ample night time wind
energy, mitigate ramping, and reduce daytime peaks. The Department
notes that technical comments it provided on previous versions of this
bill have been addressed in the current version.
The Department offers the following technical comments for
clarification: clarify the types of vehicle:
SEC. 4. ENERGY INVESTMENT CREDIT FOR ONSITE ENERGY STORAGE.
(6) QUALIFIED ONSITE ENERGY STORAGE PROPERTY--
A) IN GENERAL--The term `qualified onsite energy storage
property' means property which----
i) provides supplemental energy to reduce peak energy
requirements primarily on the same site where the
storage is located, or
ii) is designed and used primarily to receive and
store intermittent renewable energy generated onsite
and to deliver such energy primarily for onsite
Such term may include property used to charge:
i) plug-in electric and plug-in hybrid electric
vehicles using internal combustion or fuel cell
ii) material handling equipment such as forklifts
using electricity if such vehicles are equipped with
smart grid services which control time-of-day charging
and discharging of such vehicles. Such term shall not
include any property for which any other credit is
allowed under this chapter.
The intent of this language is to clarify that a qualifying
property supports vehicles that plug in to the electric grid, whether
they are purely electric or hybrid, and regardless of the type of
hybrid technology. This would include plug-in hybrids based on fuel
cell or hydrogen technologies as well. The changes would also enable
properties that support equipment such as forklifts that use
electricity to qualify for investment credit.
Ms. Johnson. But can I come back to the question you asked
about the 2 and 3 wheeler?
Senator Wyden. Yes, sure. Of course.
Ms. Johnson. Just because there are a number of mechanisms
that have worked very well that the Department of Energy has,
including the 48C tax credit, which I'm a big proponent of,
manufacturing for the opportunity to deploy these systems and
devices overseas to the market as well. So the 2 wheeler and
three wheeler electric vehicles that you were talking about, I
mean, those companies should apply for some of these
manufacturing tax credits in order to scale up. Be able to not
only serve the markets that are in this country, but overseas.
So we actually are quite enthusiastic about working with
companies like the ones that you have described. We have many
mechanisms from the 1703 to 1705 to 1603 loan guarantee
programs and tax credits in the 48C. So I think that we,
depending on the size of the company, we also launched this
fall a new part of the SBIR solicitations.
We put 50 percent of the emphasis on commercialization job
generation in the clean energy areas. We just announced last
week or the week before the $18 million in the first, phase
ones of those. So we, not only would it not preclude, but those
are exactly the companies that we're hoping are going to come
forward and take advantage of these particular instruments that
we have to help manufacturing in this country.
Senator Wyden. Let's do this. I hope that we'll get a
favorable response to the letter I sent Secretary Chu with
respect to the vehicles, the Brammo motorcycle that we hadn't
gotten a response to that.
Ms. Johnson. Right.
Senator Wyden. On the second piece of legislation you have
Senator Shaheen, Senator Dorgan, Senator Menendez, Senator
Collins, Senator Kerry. You have a number of Senators, both the
Energy Committee and the Finance, you know, committee, 2
committees that are working in the storage area. How long would
it take for you to get a written response to my questions about
Could we have that within 2 weeks?
Ms. Johnson. Oh, yes. Absolutely.
Senator Wyden. Great. Look forward to working with you.
Thank you, Madame Chair.
Senator Cantwell. Thank you. Thank you, Senator Wyden. I
think your point about these 2 and 3 wheel vehicles and the
You know, we see so many cargo ships coming into Puget
Sound carrying vehicles from China and other goods and
services. It would great to know that the 1.32 billion people
there in China, who are always saying that we're ahead on the
technology, R and D end of the equation, if we were solving
some of these problems and helping with that market. I don't
think that China is looking at 1.32 billion people driving
Ms. Johnson. Right.
Senator Cantwell. I think they're looking at the
opportunity for transportation on these two and three wheel
vehicles as a real opportunity in their country. So I hope we
can make progress on this. So we appreciate your interest.
I have one last question, if I could Under Secretary
Johnson, about the Impact Act of 2009, S. 1617. You know that
we've passed a loan program for manufacturers out of this
Ms. Johnson. Right.
Senator Cantwell. Focused on energy projects. This
particular bill deals with this, I mean it's directed at the
Secretary of Commerce to establish revolving loan funds. So how
would the Department of Energy and Commerce work together on
this? Who do you think is best suited to administer such a
revolving loan fund?
Ms. Johnson. Thank you, first, for introducing this bill on
clean energy manufacturing or revolving loan program. Let me
just take a minute to note the Department is already working to
carry out the goals of the bill. Through our loan guarantee
program which administers our 1703 and 1705 and ATVM loans, as
I mentioned earlier to in response to Senator Wyden, we also
have the 48C and 1603 tax grant subsidies for manufacturing
components and production of renewable energy.
We've worked together with the Department of Commerce well
in the past. We continue to do that in the future. We would
relish the opportunity to do that through this particular bill.
I think that in our area we've been working hard in the
areas to define energy efficiency products. We would hope that
the Department would take the lead in that particular area and
to using our deep domain knowledge and background and leverage
off of these successful programs to continue to work with our
colleagues at Department of Commerce in such a legislation that
might come forward.
Senator Cantwell. So do think ideally there's 2 separate
programs or do you think there's one program with consultation?
Ms. Johnson. I think one program with consultation would
work very well.
Senator Cantwell. Ok. Then the targets on some of these
areas? Are they going to be streamlined? I mean, obviously part
of the challenge is in the SBA models are better models because
they get capital out to the market faster.
Ms. Johnson. We have been working very hard in the last 6
to 9 months to get capital out. We've made 4 loans for a
billion dollars with Solyndra and Red River and Nordic and
others for clean energy, you know, production companies. So we
see that we have a big investment in our loan guarantee office.
It's working well. We look forward to the opportunity to
continue those opportunities and deals that we've been doing.
Senator Cantwell. Great. Again, thank you very much. We
will keep the record open for another 2 weeks on these bills.
Ms. Johnson. Ok.
Senator Cantwell. So people, committee members, have
questions to submit to you, we appreciate you getting back to
us in answers.
Senator Cantwell. Again, thank you for your dedication to
this particular area and your great background steeped in this.
So we look forward to moving forward on many pieces of this
legislation. So the hearing is adjourned. Thank you.
[Whereupon, at 3:31 p.m. the hearing was adjourned.]
Responses to Additional Questions
Responses of Kristina M. Johnson to Questions From Senator Murkowski
h.r. 957--green energy education act
Question 1. S. 1462, the American Clean Energy Leadership Act,
which this Committee sent to the full Senate in June, contains a broad
energy workforce development section which, along with programs to
address future energy workforce shortages, specifically includes
training for energy efficient construction, retrofitting, and design.
In your view, would H.R. 957 complement this legislation or be
Answer. Both S. 1462, the American Clean Energy Leadership Act
(ACELA), and H.R. 957, the Green Energy Education Act, contain
provisions that would help our workforce develop the skills needed to
address future opportunities in energy efficient construction and
design. H.R. 957 appears to support the creation of energy efficient
construction through curricular development and post graduate
fellowships that would require partnerships between engineering and
architecture schools. ACELA Subtitle D, Section 450 most closely
resembles the program proposed in H.R. 957. This Section proposes
programs that would be developed by the Secretary of Energy in
coordination with the Secretary of Labor to award grants to community
colleges to provide training and education in industries and practices
in energy efficient construction, retrofitting and design.
Work force development programs at many levels can help build a
skilled energy and energy efficient building workforce. Community
colleges can help train workers to deploy new technologies quickly and
post graduate institutions can contribute research to building
technology, science, and engineering. The two bills appear to address
these needs in different ways. They target different sectors of the
educational market (community colleges and post graduates) and
different time scales (immediate delivery of training, longer-term
development of graduate-level curriculum and post doctoral research).
While the Department appreciates H.R. 957's and ACELA's focus on
building technologies, we would like to emphasize growing opportunities
for skilled workers across the clean energy sector. The rapid
deployment of new energy technologies, coupled with the fact that 40 to
60 percent of energy utilities' skilled workers and engineers are
eligible to retire by 2012\1\ suggests the benefits of a broad approach
to address the green job development and training challenge.
\1\ Center for Energy Workforce Demand 2007 Report: Gaps in Energy
To this end, the Department works closely with the National Science
Foundation (NSF) on currently funded and proposed activities to
strengthen scientific educational programs at the technical,
undergraduate, and graduate levels. These projects are aimed at
creating a pipeline beginning at the K-12 level and extending through
the post-graduate level to ensure the ongoing development of a
workforce with the skills and capabilities to create and scale-up
innovative energy technologies and improve processes over the long-
h.r. 2729--national environmental research parks
Question 1. The legislation directs each Research Park to support a
wide degree of research and monitoring work. How does the research and
monitoring provided for in the bill match up with Department of Energy
Answer. Generally, H.R. 2729 authorizes the Department of Energy
(DOE) to support research in eight areas at the research parks:
a. Ecology of the site and the region;
b. Population biology and ecology;
d. Effects of climate variability and change on ecosystems;
e. Ecosystem science;
f. Pollution fate and transport research;
g. Surface and groundwater modeling; and
h. Environmental impacts of development and use of energy
generation technology, including renewable energy technologies.
Several of these research areas are consistent with DOE research
priorities and are areas of research that the Department supports. In
general, research activities are conducted at locations that are
optimal for the proposed studies and are not limited to, or selected
for, use of research park lands. Research in effects of climate
variability and change on ecosystems and ecosystem science is supported
by the Office of Science's Office of Biological and Environmental
Research (BER). Specifically, research is targeted at understanding the
role of terrestrial ecosystems in the global carbon cycle,
understanding the effects of changing concentrations of greenhouse
gases on terrestrial ecosystems, and understanding the role of
terrestrial ecosystems in terrestrial carbon sequestration. BER also
supports research consistent with pollution fate and transport research
on the transport and fate of contaminants, specifically radionuclides
and heavy metals in the subsurface. This research on the behavior and
interactions of contaminants, in subsurface environments provides
knowledge needed by DOE's Offices of Environmental Management (EM) and
Legacy Management (LM) to develop new strategies for the remediation
and stewardship of weapons-related contaminants at DOE sites. Research
in surface and groundwater modeling is also supported by BER, EM, and
the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) as it relates to
the fate and transport of subsurface contaminants (including geological
carbon sequestration) and long-term environmental stewardship of DOE
sites. It should be emphasized again, however, that the above research
is conducted at locations that are consistent with the specific
hypotheses being tested and not at ``research parks,'' per se.
The DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy supports
research in environmental impacts of development and use of energy
generation technology, including renewable energy technologies as it
relates to the development and deployment of new energy technologies.
EM and the Office of Science have supported research in radioecology in
the past, particularly at the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory in
recent years, however, the Department's priority has shifted to
subsurface contaminant fate and transport to more directly address the
Department's legacy waste and clean-up responsibilities.
The bill's proposed research areas in ecology of the site and the
region and population biology and ecology are not well aligned with the
Department's mission priorities and are better supported by other
Question 2. How does the authorization of $5 million/year for each
Research Park impact the Office of Science's overall budget?
Answer. The authorization of $5 million/year for each of six
National Environmental Research Parks (NERPs) would total $30 million/
year, if appropriated. The Office of Biological and Environmental
Research would be the likely group to manage this NERP program as it
currently supports research in atmospheric and terrestrial systems, as
well as climate modeling. But finding would have to be appropriated,
not only the $30 million specifically authorized for the six NERPS, but
also additional funds to support the solicitation, review and
management of six large, new research activities which would be a major
new effort within the relatively small Office of Biological and
Environmental Research. Moreover, in addition to its potential budget
impact, the proposed new program would be counter to the Office of
Science's best practices for management of research programs and
optimal use of scientific resources by the broader scientific
community. The Office of Science currently supports high priority
research as identified by expert advisory panels and selected through
external peer review. Under this legislation, the site rather than the
quality or overall importance of the research would command the
Question 3. How would making the Research Parks permanent impact
the Department's ability to utilize federal land in the most
appropriate manner to meet its mission? What are the potential impacts
on future land transfer to the local communities?
Answer. The Section 3 savings clause of H.R. 2729 does specify that
the bill shall not be ``construed to limit the activities that the
Federal Government may carry out or authorize on a site on which a
National Environmental Research Park is located.'' The Department is
concerned, however, that once research park lands were officially
designated as ``protected outdoor research reserves,'' public
opposition to any development within the parks, even for DOE mission
related purposes, would increase significantly. Additionally, the
savings clause does not address the issue of future land transfers to
local communities. The Department is concerned that any official
designation of a ``research park'' could prohibit the transfer of any
parcels within that boundary to local communities for productive
h.r. 3165--the wind research and development act of 2009
Question 1. To date, how much has the federal government spent on
wind research and development?
Answer. From 1978 to 2008, the Department of Energy has been
appropriated over $1.6 billion (in 2008 dollars) to invest in wind
energy research and development (R&D), as compared with nearly $24
billion for Nuclear Energy R&D and Infrastructure, $41 billion for
Fossil Energy R&D, and over $15 billion for Fusion Energy over that
time period. In Fiscal Year 2009, $55 million was appropriated for wind
R&D. In Fiscal Year 2010, $80 million is appropriated for wind R&D,
with an additional $118 million allocated through the American Recovery
and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
Question 2. Please provide an overview of the Departments current
wind research and development efforts. Is the research called for in
H.R. 3165 duplicative of ongoing wind research efforts at the
Answer. The activities proposed in H.R. 3165 appear largely
consistent with much of the work currently underway at the Department
of Energy (DOE), and with DOE's 20% Wind Energy by 2030 report. The
Department already engages in research and development (R&D) activities
described in Section (2)(b) of the bill. However, H.R. 3165 does not
propose specific authorization for wind energy environmental research,
such as the effects of wind turbines on wildlife and habitat, which is
of major concern to the wind industry and communities considering wind
The Department's wind energy research is currently focused on
improving the performance and lowering the costs of wind technology;
improving the integration of wind energy into the electrical grid;
addressing barriers to the responsible deployment of wind power
systems; and supporting the development of a domestic supply chain and
workforce for wind energy. The Department carries out these activities
through its National Laboratories, and through public-private
partnerships with industry and academia.
Question 3. Since there is already over 25,000 megawatts of land
based wind power installed in the United States, is there really a need
to conduct a wind energy demonstration program?
Answer. The Department supports placing special emphasis on
demonstrating highly innovative land-based wind designs and offshore
wind technologies, including integrated systems, components,
structures, materials and infrastructure.
There is an identified need for demonstration of advanced wind
plant performance characterization methodologies and applications
(including forecasting, wake effects, and aeroelastic interactions), as
well as advanced manufacturing techniques to help increase the domestic
content and cost competitiveness of wind turbine components.
Technologies that need a robust demonstration program include new
advanced turbine components, materials, and, most importantly, nascent
offshore wind technologies. The U.S. currently does not have any
offshore wind energy systems installed. Much of this can be attributed
to complexity in the regulatory framework and related permitting
requirements, low technology maturity, lack of minimum infrastructure
such as adequately outfitted ports and vessels, an untrained labor
force, and the perception of risk among potential investors. Therefore,
offshore wind may need the support of a demonstration program in order
to establish its viability in the U.S. The National Renewable Energy
Laboratory estimates that the U.S. offshore wind resources, including
the Great Lakes, exceed 2500 Gigawatts.\1\
\1\ ``Large-Scale Offshore Wind Power in the United States:
Assessment of Opportunities and. Barriers'', NREL Report (unpublished
DOE-funded study, 2007).
DOE's 20% Wind Energy by 2030 study concludes that with dedicated
policy support, at least 54 Gigawatts of this potential could
realistically be developed by 2030.\2\
\2\ ``20% Wind Energy by 2030, Increasing Wind Energy's
Contribution to the U.S. Electricity Supply'' DOE/GO-102008-2567, July
Question 4. How much wind energy research and development is
performed by the wind industry?
Answer. Over the last two decades, the wind industry has worked
with the Department of Energy (DOE) to advance wind technology and
develop state-of-the-art wind turbines. These projects require
substantial cost-share from industry. For example, one industry member
contributed over $4.5 million in cost-share to a project with DOE to
develop a 1.5 MW wind turbine. DOE understands that the American Wind
Energy Association's research and development (R&D) action plan calls
for annual non-federal wind energy R&D spending of at least $224
million in order to supply 20 percent of the Nation's energy from wind
resources by 2030. European Commission estimates suggest that the wind
industry provides roughly three-quarters of all European wind R&D
funding, with the remaining quarter coming from national governments
within the European Union. For example, one foreign wind turbine
manufacturer spent $175 million on R&D in 2008, while a U.S.
manufacturer of utility-scale wind turbines spent $21.1 million. The
wind industry continues to invest in R&D to develop new multi-megawatt
onshore and offshore wind turbine designs, to optimize wind turbine
component designs and materials, and to improve the reliability and
cost-competitiveness of wind turbine technology.
h.r. 3246--advanced vehicle technology act of 2009
Question 1. I'm concerned that if the federal government
dramatically increases its spending on vehicle technology R&D,
companies within the industry will be incentivized to reduce their own
spending. Do you believe a cost-share between the federal government
and private industry should be required for any activities carried out
under this bill? If so, what do you believe would be an appropriate
level for that cost-share?
Answer. Government uses a broad portfolio-based approach to
supporting research, development, and demonstration projects in the
energy area and attempts to scale funding to the need. Federal support
is targeted to areas where there is evidence that the private sector on
its own is not supplying sufficient funding. The closer a technology is
to commercialization, the more the Federal government requires of the
private sector to minimize crowding out. For instance, cost-sharing is
an important mechanism for leveraging government funds and insuring
that the Government's partners focus on topics relevant to the market.
The cost-share requirements set forth in Section 988 of the Energy
Policy Act of 2005 (minimum of 20 percent cost share for R&D projects
and minimum of 50 percent cost share for demonstration and
commercialization projects) have proved effective in meeting these
Question 2. I'm also concerned by the overlap that could result
from the passage of this bill. H.R. 3246 includes a section requiring
the Secretary to ``ensure, to the maximum extent practicable'' that
activities carried out under the bill do not duplicate existing
efforts. Aside from much higher spending, can you please elaborate on
how the program set up by this bill differs from the activities already
being carried out by EERE's Vehicle Technologies program, NETL's
Advanced Vehicles and Fuels Research program, the Advanced Technology
Vehicle Manufacturing Incentive program, and other similar federal
Answer. Many of the activities proposed by H.R. 3246 represent
ongoing work currently underway in the Department's Vehicle
Technologies Program. H.R. 3246 updates existing authorities from the
Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct 05) from a technology standpoint, as
well as ensures that many current EPAct 05 authorizations set to expire
in the next several years do not expire. The Department does not
anticipate duplication of existing efforts.
Question 3. Has the Department looked at any other ways to spur
innovation within the private sector? For example, instead of providing
nearly $3 billion more for R&D, could the establishment of a prime rate
loan program result in similar gains in fuel economy and lower
emissions at lower cost to taxpayers?
Answer. The Department has initiated new programs to spur private
sector innovation in both research and development (R&D) and
manufacturing. Examples of R&D investment include the Advanced Research
Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) and the support the Department provides
for deployment through credit programs such as the Advanced Technology
Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program (ATVM). The Department's support of
long-standing programs, such as Small Business Innovation Research
(SBIR), has achieved notable success for vehicle technology
development, as exemplified by Al23 Systems. With initial SBIR funding
in 2001, Al23 Systems was able to further its lithium ion battery
technology development, receive additional competitively-awarded
Departmental R&D fluids, and raise additional capital from private
sector partners. Al23 Systems recently received, through competitive
award, Recovery Act funds to scale up and build automotive battery
manufacturing facilities in the United States that are expected to
support the widespread use of plug-in hybrid and other electric
Question 4. Earlier this year, the Energy Committee passed a bill
that would require the National Academy of Sciences to complete a
comprehensive ``transportation roadmap'' to evaluate the potential of
many of the technologies listed in this bill. Would it make more sense
to complete that study before funding all of these technologies, rather
than funding all of these technologies without a good understanding of
where our limited federal dollars are likely to be most effective?
Answer. The Department is currently working with the National
Academy of Sciences (NAS) to support a $2.2 million study focused on
light-duty vehicle fuel economy, as directed by the Energy and Water
Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2010. The study is
scheduled to begin this year; over the course of the two-year effort,
the NAS will rely on data from the Department's Vehicle Technologies
Program and others to perform an analysis. Based on preliminary
information from the ongoing NAS review as well as previous NAS reviews
of the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership, the Department's technology
portfolio--which emphasizes vehicle electrification--is appropriate.
The International Energy Agency's Electric and Plug-In Hybrid Roadmap
mirrors DOE emphasis on drivetrain electrification. Two authorization
bills currently under Congressional consideration, H.R. 3246 and S.
2843, would authorize a research, development and demonstration program
that is very well aligned with the current DOE program focus.
h.r. 3585--solar technology roadmap act
Question 1. This legislation establishes a Solar Technology Roadmap
Committee, with at least one-third of the Committee members to come
from the solar industry, in order to create a Solar Technology Roadmap
to direct DOE's solar research. Does the Department believe such a
Roadmap Committee is necessary? What is the Administration's position
on potentially allowing non-federal employees to direct Federal
Answer. The Department's Solar Energy Technologies Program actively
solicits and receives input from stakeholders in industry, the National
Laboratories, and academia through peer-reviews, as well as from other
formal and informal discussions over many years. The Department is
actively strengthening its external review process to receive input and
comments from outside stakeholders. As written, the proposed
legislation binds the Department's research and development efforts to
the recommendations of the Roadmap Committee, requiring the Department
to follow the Committee's recommendations for 75 percent of all funding
appropriated for the Solar Energy Technologies Program by 2015. While
the Department welcomes additional industry input and support for
demonstration projects, DOE is particularly concerned about this bill's
practical effects, which will constrain the flexibility the Depailnent
has to respond to diverse sources of information and explore new
breakthroughs in technology development. The Department is also greatly
concerned about having non-federal employees direct Federal activities.
Question 2. H.R. 3585 requires the Department of Energy to spend an
increasing, minimum amount of the solar program budget--30% starting in
2012 and increasing to 75% in 2015--as directed by the Roadmap
Committee's research and development recommendations. What if the
Energy Secretary does not agree with the Roadmap Committee's R&D
recommendations? Do you believe that this legislation unnecessarily
ties the Department's hands?
Answer. As written, the proposed legislation unnecessarily binds
the Department's research and development (R&D) efforts to the
recommendations of the Roadmap Committee, requiring the Department to
follow the Committee's recommendations for 75 percent of all funds
appropriated for the Solar Energy Technologies Program by 2015. The
Department urges the Congress instead to stipulate that the Committee
provide non-binding advice and recommendations traditionally provided
by publicly-chartered Federal advisory committees. Providing the most
effective solar technology R&D programs requires the Secretary and the
Department to make a series of constantly evolving judgments. This
legislation will constrain the flexibility the Department has to
respond to diverse sources of information and explore new breakthroughs
in technology development.
Question 3. Please provide an overview of the Department's current
solar research and development efforts for Concentrating Solar Power
technology, Photovoltaics, and solar thermal water heating technology.
To date, how much as the federal government spent on solar research and
Answer. The Department of Energy (DOE) has significantly increased
its support for solar energy technologies over the last five years--
growing from $83 million in Fiscal Year (FY) 2006 to $247 million in FY
2010--to enable the U.S. to compete in the global marketplace with
cost-competitive solar energy by 2015. The total 30 years' investment
in solar research and development (R&D) since the Department's
inception in 1979 is approximately $6.1 billion (in 2008 dollars). This
funding has helped the U.S. become the world leader in innovative solar
technology, and may be compared with investments of nearly $24 billion
for Nuclear Energy R&D and Infrastructure, $41 billion for Fossil
Energy R&D, and over $15 billion for Fusion Energy R&D over that time
The DOE Solar Energy Technologies Program focuses on reducing
photovoltaic (PV) manufacturing costs, proving that concentrating solar
power (CSP) systems can provide dispatchable power through the use of
low-cost thermal storage, and providing the thermal energy needs of a
Zero Energy Building.
The CSP subprogram is focusing its efforts in four major areas: (1)
R&D of low cost systems that include thermal storage to achieve cost
competitiveness in the intermediate and baseload power markets; (2)
establishment of a demonstration program of new CSP technologies that
could lead to gigawatt-scale deployment of CSP projects; (3) working
with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in identifying BLM-managed
land environmentally suitable for utility-scale solar projects and (4)
addressing market acceptance issues related to water consumption and
The PV subprogram priorities are to: (1) conduct R&D on existing
and current PV technologies that have the potential to achieve cost
parity with conventional electricity generation sources by 2015; (2)
increase the lifetime of PV components and systems, and prove the
market viability of new PV technologies; (3) in coordination with the
Office of Electricity, conduct R&D to allow for wide scale integration
of PV systems within the existing grid system; (4) conduct outreach to
key state and national stakeholders that can help remove market
impediments for the adoption of PV technologies.
The Solar Heating and Cooling activity within the Building
Technologies Program supports R&D on (1) exemplary low-cost solar water
heating systems for net-zero energy homes (ZEH) in cold climates and
the development of prototype systems; (2) combined solar heating,
cooling, and water heating systems that utilize seasonal storage to
achieve high solar fractions; (3) dehumidification applications for
combined photovoltaic/thermal systems for ZEH; and (4) support of a
solar rating and certification system.
Question 4. How much solar energy research and development is
performed by the solar industry?
Answer. As most U.S. solar companies are private and have no
obligation to publicly disclose their spending, direct figures on non-
governmental research and development (R&D) spending by the solar
industry are not available. The best proxy measurement for non-
governmental R&D spending is early stage (venture capital and private
equity) investments in solar companies. While some of this funding is
used for manufacturing scale-up, a large proportion of early stage
investments is for R&D. In addition, there is R&D spending that is
funded by later stage investments, such as debt and public equity. In
2008, U.S. solar companies received approximately $2.6 billion of
venture capital and private equity investments (source: Bloomberg New
Energy Finance, http://www.newenergymatters.com/).
Question 5. H.R. 3585 specifically exempts the Solar Technology
Roadmap Committee from the Federal Advisory Committee Act. What is the
Department's position on this exemption?
Answer. Creating the most effective solar technology research and
development (R&D) programs requires the Department of Energy (DOE) to
make a series of constantly evolving judgments. It is important that
the Department be allowed to call on multiple sources of information
when formulating solar technology R&D priorities. Legislation should
not constrain the Department's flexibility to respond to diverse
sources of information, as would be the case currently proposed by
Sections 102 and 103 of H.R. 3585. However, the Department may support
the establishment of an advisory committee from which DOE may receive
collective input to better inform its decisions related to these
matters. If the committee is only advisory to the Secretary, the
Department does not see any reason to exempt the committee from the
Federal Advisory Committee Act.
s. 737--biofuels for small non-road engines
Question 1. What is the current status of the program required by
Section 248 of the 2007 energy bill? Has it been created by the
Department, and if so, what progress has been made in each of its nine
Answer. Research and testing on most of the nine focus areas
identified in Section 248 of EISA 2007 are underway. Some results are
in review for publication. Summary of progress in the nine focus areas:
(1) Corrosion of metal, plastic, rubber, cork, fiberglass,
glues, or any other material used in pipes and storage tanks--
In coordination with the Environmental Protection Agency, the
Department is conducting materials testing on components of
underground storage tanks and on metals, elastomers, and
plastics commonly used in dispensing equipment. Performance
testing on dispensers and distribution components (hoses,
nozzles, swivels, breakaways and one submersible turbine pump)
is also ongoing.
(2) Dissolving of storage tank sediments--Not currently
(3) Clogging offilters--Ongoing research is being conducted
on dispenser filters as a component of the full dispensing
(4) Contamination from water or other adulterants or
pollutants--Not currently funded.
(5) Poor flow properties related to low temperatures--
Completed for biodiesel use in vehicles and not considered
significantly different for small engines; not considered
relevant for other commercially available biofuels.
Publications can be found at http://www.nrel.gov/
(6) Oxidative and thermal instability in long-term storage
and uses--Complete for biodiesel; ongoing for other biofuels.
Multiple biodiesel publications can be found at http://
(7) Microbial contamination--Not currently funded. The issue
is considered well-understood by industry and does not require
additional Departmental research.
(8) Problems associated with electrical conductivity--Not
directly under study, but research currently underway on
materials compatibility for E15 and E20 includes corrosion,
which is affected by electrical conductivity.
(9) Such other areas as the Secretary considers appropriate--
Areas not currently being addressed are not impeding the near-
term deployment of biofuels.
Question 2. The Fiscal Year 2010 Energy and Water Appropriations
bill included $7.5 million for the Vehicle Technologies program at DOE
to ``expand and accelerate'' the testing of intermediate fuel blends.
Does your Department intend to include small, non-road engines--such as
those used in outdoor equipment and boats--in its tests as part of the
Answer. Yes, small, non-road engines will be included in Fiscal
Year 2010 tasks, including studies that are currently underway or are
being planned to examine the effects of intermediate ethanol blends on
chainsaws and marine engines. Additional studies on motorcycles and
snowmobiles are planned and may be conducted pending evaluation of
incoming data on the marine and chainsaw testing.
Question 3. Could you take just a minute and summarize what
preliminary testing, such as the testing completed by the Oak Ridge
National Laboratory, has suggested about the use of ethanol in small,
Answer. Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the National Renewable
Energy Laboratory, and the Transportation Research Center (a commercial
testing laboratory in Ohio) have completed tests on a variety of small,
non-road engines. Emissions and exhaust temperature testing using
blends of EO, El 0, E15, and E20 was conducted on power washers,
generators, leaf blowers, and line trimmers in their new and full-life
conditions. On each engine type, low-cost general use and higher-price
fuel types were tested.
Testing showed that as ethanol levels increased, small, non-road
engines operated less fuel-rich, leading to higher temperatures of both
the exhaust and engine components and to changes in the exhaust
emissions. In general, hydrocarbon (HC) and carbon monoxide (CO)
emissions tended to decrease with higher ethanol content, while oxides
of nitrogen (NOx) emissions tended to increase. Combined HC+NOx
emissions (which are regulated as such) decreased in most cases. As
ethanol content in the fuel increased, some engines experienced higher
idle speeds and unintentional clutch engagement due to less-rich
operating conditions. No obvious material compatibility issues were
observed during these tests.
s. 1617--investments for manufacturing progress and clean technology
Question 1. Please describe the role, if any, that the Industrial
Technologies Program at the Department of Energy will play within the
loan program, as envisioned in S. 1617.
Answer. The Loan Guarantee Program Office (LGPO) supports
innovative energy technology projects that reduce or sequester
greenhouse gases, including many of the technologies that would be
supported by S. 1617. To achieve the Program's goals, the LGPO works in
close coordination with the relevant DOE program offices including
Fossil Energy, Nuclear Energy and Energy Efficiency Renewable Energy.
In the context of Title XVII this coordination and role is ongoing; the
LGPO will continue to access technical expertise provided by the
program offices, including the Industrial Technologies Program, in
matters such as developing solicitations and reviewing loan guarantee
Question 2. What skills will be needed to reflect the range of
activities the program needs for long-term success?
Answer. U.S. manufacturers need employees with ever-increasing
skills to compete in the global marketplace, particularly in growing
industries such as clean technologies. Increasing worker education and
training will be central to achieving long-term manufacturing success.
The knowledge and skills of manufacturing employees at all levels--from
technicians to engineers to plant managers--on energy technology
management, as well as the manufacture of clean energy technologies,
needs to be significantly strengthened.
The Department's Industrial Technologies Program (ITP) has a
history of developing industrial energy efficiency resources, including
tools, training and energy assessments that assist manufacturing staff
in saving energy. Studies conducted by trade organizations and
government organizations, including the United Nations Environment
Programme, have indicated a wide set of skills will be required not
only for the manufacture of clean technology and energy efficient
products, but also for their implementation. These skills and
associated professions include planning and design; project management
and procurement; technical-engineering skills related to energy
management; trade skills including electrical and mechanical skills;
and computer operation or software specialization. In addition,
entrepreneurial skills can often be as important as technical knowledge
for emerging industries. Availability of workers with these skill sets
will be beneficial to the retooling, expansion, and improvement of U.S.
manufacturing facilities. The Department's ITP will coordinate with
other agencies to assist in identifying the needed skills in
manufacturing to support the implementation and manufacturing of clean
Question 3. Please describe the role that the industrial assessment
centers will play in assisting the small and medium sized firms in
improving their energy efficiency.
Answer. The Department's 26 Industrial Assessment Centers (TACO
provide engineering services and technical assistance to small and
medium sized firms by conducting no-cost energy audits at manufacturing
plants. An engineering professor experienced in energy auditing and
several students lead each energy audit. The audit analyzes a wide
range of energy uses at the plant, including heating, cooling,
lighting, steam, and motor applications and provides a report with
recommendations that typically identifies about 10 percent reductions
in energy use. About 300 energy audits are conducted every year
throughout the U.S. IAC personnel also familiarize plant personnel with
the Department's software decision tools, training possibilities,
technical information, energy management methods and other materials
which can enable plant workers to make continuing improvements to their
energy systems. At any time, the IAC program employs approximately 200
engineering students who are acquiring energy-engineering skills for
application in professional careers. The IAC program serves as a model
approach for strengthening the U.S. clean energy manufacturing supply
Question 4. Please describe how the loan program our Committee
passed earlier this year (ACELA, Title II, Subtitle A, SEC 201) will be
coordinated with this new loan program in addressing energy efficiency
improvements within the industrial sector?
Answer. The Administration has not taken a position on either ACELA
or S. 1617. As such, the Department has no view on how the two pieces
of legislation might be coordinated if passed.
s. 2773--offshore wind energy research, development, demonstration and
commercial application act of 2009
Question 1. Is the Department currently undertaking any research
and development work for offshore wind resources?
Answer. The Department seeks to address barriers to responsible
offshore wind energy development, including the technical challenges
posed by the harsh marine environment, as well as the permitting and
environmental challenges associated with siting offshore projects. The
Department is providing approximately $25 million in projects in Fiscal
Years 2009 and 2010 appropriations and Congressionally Directed
Projects, to support offshore wind energy through feasibility
assessments, environmental studies, and technology research and
development. These projects include a recently launched research
consortia headed by the University of Maine to develop composite
floating platforms for offshore wind turbines. In addition, the
Department of Energy is investing up to $70 million in Recovery Act
funds to create facilities capable of testing next-generation land-
based and offshore wind turbine drivetrains and blades. These
facilities, located in Boston, Massachusetts, and Charleston, South
Carolina, will improve U.S. competitiveness in offshore wind energy
technology by supporting the testing of next-generation designs.
Question 2. According to the American Wind Energy Association,
offshore winds are stronger and more consistent than wind resources
located across land. To date, however, there are no offshore wind
projects in this country, even though the Cape Wind project has been
under development since 2001. Why is the United States so far behind
Europe, which already has over 600 megawatts of installed offshore wind
Answer. The fact that no offshore wind projects have been installed
in the U.S. to date can largely be attributed to the complex regulatory
framework and related federal and state permitting requirements faced
by project developers. While U.S. policies for offshore oil and gas
extraction are well established, policies, regulations and processes
for offshore wind energy development are still in development, although
tremendous strides toward clarification have been made in 2009 through
Significant financial investments are being made in Europe to
support installation of offshore wind turbines and support
infrastructure. Investment in the development of commercially operated
offshore projects in Europe is approximately =3 billion (approximately
$4.1 billion) per year and is expected to increase to =8 billion
(approximately $11 billion) per year by 2020. Government policies and
regulations set the stage for the research, investment, and development
needed to create a sustainable offshore wind industry and send signals
to the financial community regarding the viability of the sector. While
the U.S. government has supported wind technology deployment through
tax incentives such as the Production Tax Credit, Investment Tax
Credit, and American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Section 1603 grants,
these incentives do not distinguish between land-based and offshore
wind energy projects, and do not lend themselves as well to offshore
wind. In order to qualify for these tax credits or grants, project
construction must commence before the end of 2012. This deadline is
currently unrealistic for offshore wind projects, which face a
significantly longer development and permitting process than land-based
A significant step forward in clarifying the regulatory context for
U.S. offshore wind development occurred in April 2009, when the
Department of Interior's Minerals Management Service (MMS) issued final
regulations governing all renewable energy projects on the Outer
Continental Shelf (OCS). The Energy Policy Act of 2005 gave MMS lead
agency authority over offshore alternative energy and alternate use
activities on the OCS. Prior to this explicit authorization, the
regulatory approval pathway for offshore wind development in Federal
waters was undefined.
To date, several project developers such as Cape Wind have
successfully completed a number of the steps required for offshore wind
permitting and siting approval, including environmental reviews.
However, they still remain several years from being able to actually
install systems, given the remaining requirements that must be met.
Recent strong support for offshore development by East Coast and
Great Lakes states, coupled with collaborative efforts by MMS, such as
the formation of state task forces and Interior Secretary Salazar's
announcement of the opening of an Atlantic Off-Shore Wind Permitting
Office on December 14, 2009, promise to greatly streamline the
permitting process for developers. These steps send a strong signal to
potential investors that the hurdles that have delayed offshore
development in the U.S are being addressed.
Question 3. Based on Europe's experience, does the Department
believe offshore wind facilities will interfere with shipping or
fishing interests? What about the effects on marine life? Finally, how
do offshore wind facilities handle severe weather?
Answer. Offshore wind energy presents a different set of potential
risks to the environment and coastal communities than land-based wind.
The Department works with other agencies, such as the Department of
Interior's Minerals Management Service (MMS), to identify priority
research areas relating to environmental and human impacts of offshore
wind turbines. Several studies from Europe indicate that while no
significant negative effects on birds, mammals, or other biological
factors from existing offshore wind projects have been observed to
date, uncertainties and risks remain. Research funded by DOE to
determine the effects of offshore technologies on marine habitats and
ecosystems is currently underway. Robust research, thoughtful
stakeholder engagement and careful siting will allow for the
development of clean, affordable, domestic offshore wind energy while
protecting the environment and stakeholder interests.
The severe weather associated with the marine environment requires
offshore wind turbines to be more rugged and durable than those
installed on land. National safety certification standards can help
ensure that offshore wind technology and facilities are designed to
withstand the effects of severe offshore waves and wind. DOE works with
MMS to review existing national safety certification standards and how
to apply the standards to the design and operation of U.S. offshore
wind turbines and structures, taking into account regional
considerations such as hurricane winds and storm driven waves of the
mid-and north Atlantic. Application of these standards will ensure the
safe installation and operation of wind turbines in U.S. waters.
Question 4. S. 2773 directs the Secretary to competitively award
grants to establish one or more National Offshore Wind Centers at
institutions of higher education. Does the Department believe such
National Offshore Wind Centers can assist its research and development
Answer. A coordinated national offshore wind energy program
supporting focused research and development (R&D) would help facilitate
the long term clean energy and economic benefits of a mature offshore
wind energy industry. Establishing an integrated network of national-
scale research and development centers supporting this effort could be
important to the success of such a program. Such institutions, whether
universities, National Laboratories, or other independent or industry-
supported research centers, could be awarded DOE funding focused on
specific regional or technical research efforts. Examples of focused
research include turbine systems optimized for Great Lakes or Gulf of
Mexico conditions, floating foundations optimized for deep water
applications in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, test facilities to
validate and understand the resiliency of wind turbines to hurricanes,
ice floes, and other site conditions unique to U.S. waters, and the
development of baseline environmental studies and regional databases to
be used to streamline project review and permitting processes.
Examples of planned national-scale facilities and R&D efforts that
have recently been selected for DOE funding, and could support a
coordinated national offshore wind energy effort include:
Up to $45 million from the Recovery Act to Clemson
University for a Large Wind Turbine Drivetrain Testing facility
featuring power analysis equipment capable of performing highly
accelerated endurance testing of drive systems for land-based
and offshore wind turbines rated at 5-15 megawatts;
Up to $25 million in Recovery Act funding to the
Massachusetts large wind blade test facility, which will be the
only U.S. test center capable of testing wind turbine blades up
to 90 meters long for both land-based and offshore wind energy
Up to $8 million in Recovery Act funding plus $5 million
through Congressionally directed, funding to a consortium led
by the University of Maine to develop and test floating
foundation systems capable of supporting large wind turbines in
Responses of Kristina M. Johnson to Questions From Senator Stabenow
Question 1. Undersecretary Johnson--you mentioned in your testimony
that by including hydrogen and fuel cell activities as an eligible
technology in the Advanced Vehicle Technologies Act this would
duplicate existing authorities such as the Energy Policy Act of 2005
that also includes authority for hydrogen technologies.
Answer. The Department is concerned that H.R. 3246 would be
considered the sole authorization for all vehicle R&D activities,
including those currently sponsored by the Vehicle Technologies and
Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Programs. The current level of
funding appropriated for these programs plus the expanded medium and
heavy-duty vehicle authorization outlined in the Act currently exceeds
the total authorization level cited by the Act for Fiscal Year 2010.
Hydrogen and fuel cell activities detailed in Title VIII of the Energy
Policy Act of 2005 are currently authorized through 2020,. All of these
activities are listed as only one of 26 technology areas in H.R. 3246,
Section 101. Most of the other vehicle technologies areas in H.R, 3246
have authorizations that expire before the hydrogen and fuel cell
authorization, and many expire by 2015. The Department has no issue if
H.R. 3246 is intended as a supplemental authorization to previous
Question 2. Why is hydrogen the only example of a technology that
DOE already has other authorities to perform R&D functions on?
Certainly you could say the same for electric batteries and components,
as an example, which has various authorities under EPACT 05 and EISA
Answer. The Department is concerned that H.R. 3246 would be
considered the sole authorization for all vehicle R&D activities,
including those currently sponsored by the Vehicle Technologies and
Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Programs. The current level of
funding appropriated for these programs plus the expanded medium and
heavy-duty vehicle authorization outlined in the Act would currently
exceed the total authorization level cited by the Act for Fiscal Year
2010. Hydrogen and fuel cell activities detailed in Title VIII of the
Energy Policy Act of 2005 are currently authorized through 2020. All of
these activities are listed as only one of 26 technology areas in H.R.
3246, Section 101. Most of the other vehicle technologies areas in H.R.
3246 have authorizations that expire before the hydrogen and fuel cell
authorization, and many expire by 2015. The Department has no issue if
H.R. 3246 is intended as a supplemental authorization to previous
Question 3. Congressman Peters and I envision this bill to be a
comprehensive and integrated R&D authority for as many priority vehicle
technologies as possible, fully recognizing that it may supplement or
compliment ongoing activities at DOE. We did not want the legislation
to miss any important R&D activities and or minimize future
technologies that may advance vehicle energy efficiency. We created an
umbrella authority where a certain level of duplication is appropriate.
Answer. The Department appreciates the Senator's statement and now
better understands the intent of the legislation.
Question 4. Finally, I want to emphasize the importance of hydrogen
technologies. The recent Energy and Water Appropriations bill
appropriated $175 million for hydrogen related activities. This was
after the DOE recommended reduced the funding from $180 million to $60
million. Clearly, Congress views hydrogen as an important technology to
continue to pursue for the long term, especially as other foreign
companies have made it clear that hydrogen is still a potentially game
changing technology for vehicles in the next 10 years or so.
Answer. The Department recognizes that hydrogen could play an
important role in the Nation's energy future. The Department plans to
spend approximately $52 million in Fiscal Year 2010 for basic research
relating to hydrogen and fuel cells in the Office of Science in
addition to the $174 million appropriated for the Hydrogen and Fuel
Cell Technologies Program in the Department's Office of Energy
Efficiency and Renewable Energy, The Department also has an active
leadership role in the international hydrogen and fuel cell community,
coordinating with more than 15 countries and the European Commission
through high-level international partnerships and through collaborative
work on R&D projects. This level of international engagement allows the
Department to stay abreast of global progress, to leverage that
progress to the benefit of domestic technology development efforts, and
to ensure U.S. competitiveness in these critical, emerging
Question 5. Can you explain more about DOE's views on the future of
hydrogen fuel cell R&D as it relates to vehicles?
Answer. The Department is pursuing a diverse and inclusive
portfolio of both near-and longer-term technologies to reduce
greenhouse gas emissions and petroleum use in the transportation
sector. Hydrogen and fuel cells, advanced biofuels, and batteries are
all essential elements of this portfolio. The Department believes that
having a diverse array of technology options will help the United
States meet its long-term energy goals. Accelerating the deployment of
hydrogen and fuel cell technologies in near-term markets--such as
stationary power and specialty vehicles--is critical to the longer-term
viability of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies. The success of
hydrogen and fuel cells in these markets will help drive down costs by
building a domestic supply base and achieving economies of scale in
manufacturing. Early market success could also spur investment and
innovation in the technologies, hastening progress for longer-term
applications, including fuel cell electric vehicles.
Response of Kristina M. Johnson to Question From Senator Barrasso
Question 1. In your testimony, you raised concerns regarding
intellectual property language included in S. 2744. Will you provide
specific legislative changes that would address the Department's
Answer. The intellectual property (IP) language in Section (7) of
S. 2744 provides that as a condition to receiving an award, the
applicant must vest IP relating to carbon dioxide capture technology in
one or more entities incorporated in the U.S. For prize legislations,
the H-Prize Act (P.L. 110-140, Sec. 654) being one example, we have
concluded that the value of the resulting IP for significant
technological breakthroughs generally is worth more than the proceeds
from the prize itself. As a result, any IP provisions that seek to
divest title or otherwise encumber IP are viewed as a deterrent to
participating in such prize competitions. We would recommend the
following IP provision from the H-Prize Act, Sec. 654 (f)(4):
Intellectual property.--The Federal Government shall not, by
virtue of offering or awarding a prize under this subsection,
be entitled to any intellectual property rights derived as a
consequence of, or direct relation to, the participation by a
registered participant in a competition authorized by this
subsection. This paragraph shall not be construed to prevent
the Federal Government from negotiating a license for the use
of intellectual property developed for a prize competition
under this subsection.
Responses of Kristina M. Johnson to Questions From Senator Corker
Question 1a. Under H. R. 2729 as currently drafted, how can the
interests and needs of the local governments that are hosts to the
proposed Environmental Research Parks be protected when their interests
are in conflict with those of the Environmental Research Parks?
Answer. Currently, the Department of Energy as owner of the DOE
laboratories and the sites which they occupy, is responsible for
addressing and accommodating, to the extent possible, the interests and
needs of the surrounding local governments and citizenry. Regardless of
the outcome of H.R. 2729, the Department will continue to work with
local communities and governments in furtherance of the general
Question 1b. Would you support modifying the legislation so that
these local governments can have meaningful input into interim and
permanent land use decision making processes? If so, how would you
suggest doing that?
Answer. H.R. 2729 provides ample provisions for local community
involvement, through public education and outreach activities and
through requirements that the Department enter into cooperative
agreements with local institutions of higher learning. Accordingly,
modification of the legislation is not necessary.
Question 2a. How can land parcels that are currently under
consideration for transfer to the nearby local government best be
protected from land use alternatives that are envisioned by the
Answer. The Department is in the process of transferring several
parcels at sites that would be designated as ``National Environmental
Research Parks'' under H.R. 2729. The draft deeds will be revised to
contain a restrictive use covenant that specifies that the property is
not subject to the requirements set forth in H.R. 2729.
Question 2b. When the Department of Energy has agreed to transfer
land to a local government, how can those agreements, memoranda of
understanding, or land use options be privileged and protected should
new land use priorities established by the legislation change the
context of the aforementioned agreements?
Answer. Any proposed land transfers would be accomplished by a
transfer of deed, which would be legally binding; nonbinding documents
like memoranda of understanding would not be used. Once the deed has
been executed by the Department, the deed would contain a restrictive
use covenant, that specifies that the property is not subject to the
requirements set forth in H.R. 2729. Any executed deeds would be
accessible to the public, as public records, and would not be
privileged or protected.
Additional Material Submitted for the Record
Statement of Hon. Gabrielle Giffords, U.S. Representative From Arizona,
on H.R. 3585
Chairwoman Cantwell, Ranking Member Risch, Members of the
Subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to offer my views on H.R.
3585, the Solar Technology Roadmap Act of 2009. As the lead sponsor of
this legislation in the House of Representatives, I believe it is well
designed to achieve critical research and development (R&D) goals in
solar energy technologies with the potential for significant public
benefit. I appreciate the opportunity to clarify the thinking behind
some of the provisions of this legislation and respond to critiques of
the solar opportunity
Investing in solar power offers a tremendous opportunity for us to
stimulate our economy, increase our national competitiveness,
strengthen our national security, and reduce the environmental and
public health impacts associated with electric power production.
History makes a powerful case for investing in solar R&D.
Photovoltaic (PV) technologies have consistently declined in price
every year since they were introduced onto the market, driven by
improved research and development as well as steady increases in sales
volume. In 1954, approximately one watt of PV devices was manufactured;
in 2009, approximately one billion watts will be manufactured
worldwide. Non-PV solar technologies, including solar thermal
technologies, are also improving rapidly. Current estimates are that
commercially available solar products will achieve grid parity with
fossil fuel-based power within the next five years.
According to testimony provided by Ken Zweibel (Director of the
George Washington University Solar Institute and a former long-time
solar researcher at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory) at a
hearing held by the Energy & Environment Subcommittee of the House
Committee on Science & Technology, a relatively small Department of
Energy program of $5-15M per year called the Thin Film PV Partnership
``nurtured several second generation PV technologies from bench-top to
multibillion dollar annual sales. Two key U.S. companies [today],
UniSolar and First Solar, were substantial participants. Both are now
world leaders in PV technology, and in fact, First Solar was the second
largest manufacturer of PV modules in the world last year.''
I would like to respond to concerns that have been expressed by
some about the authorization levels in this bill. I believe the best
justification for the proposed authorization levels comes from taking a
historical look at Federal investment in energy R&D. Between 1978 and
2007, the U.S. government spent $30 billion on R&D for nuclear energy
alone, and another $24 billion on fossil fuel research.\1\ During the
same period we spent less than $6.5 billion on solar energy, and more
than half of that research was performed prior to 1985.\2\
\1\ U.S. Energy Information Administration, Federal Financial
Interventions and Subsidies in Energy Markets 2007, Report #:SR/CNEAF/
\2\ DOE Budget Authority History Table by Appropriation; DOE
Congressional Budget Requests.
Some might think these disparities are justified based on the
respective electricity-generating potential of these different
technologies, but that is not the case. Indeed, the opposite is true.
Our nation's solar resources are truly vast in scale, and they are
capable of making a significant contribution to our energy needs. Using
technology available today, solar power could meet the electricity
demands of the entire United States on a square piece of land
approximately 100 miles by 100 miles, or about 10,000 square miles.\3\
For comparison, at least that much land area is currently covered by
artificial lakes behind hydroelectric dams, which provide less than 10%
of our nation's electricity. Solar analysts at DOE are currently
preparing a study that outlines how, with the right incentives, solar
power could meet as much as 20% of America's electricity needs by the
year 2030. That is the same proportion of our power currently provided
by nuclear energy.
\3\ Estimate assuming 5 acres/megawatt from NREL FAQ (http://
www.nrel.gov/csp/troughnet/faqs.html#land); EIA, Electric Power
Industry 2007: Year in Review.
Despite the enormous scale of the solar resource, its tremendous
electricity-generating potential, and its relatively low social costs,
we have spent just one-tenth as many resources developing solar
technologies as we have developing nuclear power. In the last thirty
years, we have spent four times more money developing coal technology
as solar, even though burning coal for power is a profitable business
that has been around for over 100 years, while solar is still an
emerging technology. At the end of the term covered by my bill, it
would authorize $550 million for solar R&D. Yet at the peak of the
energy crisis in the 1970s, we spent $2.9 billion a year on nuclear
power development alone, and $1.8 billion on fossil fuels.\4\
\4\ U.S. Energy Information Administration, Federal Financial
Interventions and Subsidies in Energy Markets 2007, Report #:SR/CNEAF/
2008-01. Figures are in 2007 dollars.
I fully support having strong research programs in nuclear, coal,
and other important energy options. The fact I wish to highlight is
simply that we have consistently underinvested in renewable energy R&D,
including solar R&D, relative to its potential to benefit our nation.
The funding levels authorized in H.R. 3585 are amply justified by the
vast potential of the solar resource and global market opportunity for
new solar technologies. It is time for the scale of our solar
investments to match the scale of the solar opportunity.
responding to doe testimony
The most innovative feature of H.R. 3585 is a provision that calls
for the establishment of a committee to create a Solar Technology
Roadmap. The committee would consist of a minimum of eleven members,
all selected by the Secretary of Energy (Secretary) and appointed to
three-year terms. Members would be solar experts drawn from diverse
backgrounds, including industry, academia, national laboratories, and
other entities or organizations as appropriate. At least one third, but
no more than one half of the members would come from industry. The
committee's task would be to develop a research plan--or roadmap--to
identify R&D needs in order to advance solar technologies in the near-
(up to 2 years), medium- (5-7 years), and long-terms (up to 15 years).
The bill calls for the roadmap to be updated every year and completely
overhauled every three years to keep up with the evolution of solar
technologies. Importantly, the bill also calls for a portion of funds
appropriated for the solar R&D program to be allocated according to the
recommendations in the roadmap, starting with 30% in FY 2011 and rising
gradually to 75% in FY 2015.
The written testimony on H.R. 3585 submitted by Dr. Kristina
Johnson, Undersecretary of Energy, identifies the Department of
Energy's (DOE's) ``greatest concern'' as the fact that the bill would
``require the Department to form a semi-autonomous Committee that will
largely govern the solar-energy activities at the Department.'' Dr.
Johnson correctly points out that the bill, as written, would bind, at
least partially, the Department's R&D efforts to the recommendations of
the Roadmap Committee, requiring the Department to follow the
Committee's recommendations for the allocation of a steadily increasing
percentage of the total amount appropriated for solar R&D, ultimately
topping out at 75% in 2015. However, H.R. 3585 would not empower the
Roadmap Committee to ``largely govern'' the Department's solar energy
activities. The Committee could only provide recommendations in the
form of a roadmap. The Department is not legally bound to carry out all
of these recommendations, nor even necessarily follow the top
priorities identified. In addition, the Roadmap Committee has no power
to award grants, and is explicitly barred from recommending specific
recipients of funds.
Dr. Johnson concludes by urging Congress instead to stipulate that
the Roadmap Committee would provide non-binding advice and
recommendations. Although Dr. Johnson identifies the partial binding of
funding decisions to the roadmap as the Department's greatest concern,
she does not provide a convincing explanation of why it is a concern
(e.g. how the proposal would fail to promote the public interest) or
how the Department's preferred course would mitigate the concern.
Later in her testimony, Dr. Johnson does attempt to justify the
Department's position by explaining that, ``providing the most
effective solar technology research and development programs requires
the Secretary and the Department to make a series of constantly
evolving judgments. It is important that we be allowed to call on
multiple sources of information when we formulate our solar technology
R&D priorities, and that we be responsive to provided information. .
I could not agree more, and that is precisely why the H.R. 3585
requires that the solar roadmap be updated annually and that solar R&D
funding be tied to the recommendations of the Roadmap Committee; it is
to ensure that resource allocation decisions are consistent with the
up-to-date recommendations that emerge from a multi-stakeholder process
involving experts from across the solar R&D community. Far from
obstructing consultation with, and responsiveness to, ``multiple
sources of information,'' H.R. 3585 would require it. While I applaud
recent Department initiatives to consult with solar stakeholders in
industry, the national laboratories, and academia, there is no current
requirement that DOE officials consult with these stakeholders or
anyone else in making their R&D decisions. H.R. 3585 would ensure that
these diverse stakeholders are not only consulted, but that their
recommendations are heeded as the Department allocates Federal solar
I realize that 75% is a significant portion of the total funding
for solar R&D. However, when we are talking about ensuring that
taxpayer money is allocated in accordance with a long-term research
plan created through a multi-stakeholder process, it is hard to
understand why people might think this is a bad idea, especially
considering that the roadmap would be published for all to see. In
terms of transparency, long-term thinking, and integration of diverse
views, the roadmap process would far exceed anything required of DOE
today. What's more, the roadmap idea is not new or untested; it is
based on the highly successful Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors, a
semiconductor industry-led initiative that has been widely hailed as
contributing to steady and rapid technological advancement in that
industry since the early 1990s.
In contrast with the proposed roadmap process, right now solar R&D
funding decisions are made according to whatever rationale DOE may deem
appropriate. There is no assurance of transparency, no long-term
planning requirement, and there is no obligation to consult with
industry or other stakeholders. For members of Congress concerned with
responsible stewardship of taxpayer dollars, the roadmap process should
come as a welcome proposal.
Finally, even if 75% of R&D funding were allocated in accordance
with the roadmap, fully 25% of the R&D budget would remain free to be
allocated to projects outside the purview of the roadmap. If the full
authorized amount were to be appropriated in 2015, that 25% alone would
be more than the entire appropriation for solar R&D in the American
Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
I am gratified that in her testimony Dr. Johnson acknowledges the
value of a roadmap-like process in discussing DOE's own plans to
establish an external advisory board to review the entire solar program
several times a year. There appears to be widespread agreement, both
inside and outside DOE, that such a process would add value. H.R. 3585
simply takes the next logical steps, first by giving the external
reviewers explicit instructions to examine technical hurdles over
different time horizons, and then by ensuring that, once solicited,
their expert advice is used as a template to guide Federal solar R&D
On October 22, 2009, the House of Representatives provided a
ringing endorsement for increased Federal investment in solar R&D and
the roadmap concept by passing H.R. 3585 by a strong bipartisan vote of
310 to 106. I encourage the Senate to take up this legislation and pass
it without significant modification so that our nation may strengthen
its leadership in solar technology development in the years to come.
Statement of Ilan Kroo, Leland T. Edwards Professor of Engineering,
Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Stanford University,
Standford, CA, on H.R. 3165
I am writing to support the inclusion of innovative new approaches
to wind energy in the Department of Energy's (DOE) Wind Energy Research
and Development Act of 2009. In addition to the program topics
currently proposed, I believe it is critical to invest in innovative
new approaches to wind power. As an example, concepts for airborne wind
energy generation have been proposed by several companies, and funding
for these unconventional, but high-potential projects, could be very
important at this time.
Most of the current research in wind energy systems has focused on
incremental improvements to individual system components and improved
methods for modeling conventional wind turbines. This research, if
successful, will lead to important, but small, advances in current
systems. Unconventional concepts for wind energy generation have, by
contrast, received little serious research and development support.
Although many of these concepts are not feasible for utility-scale
power generation, those that do appear feasible should be an important
part of the nation's research program. I therefore encourage the
inclusion of innovative approaches to wind energy, including airborne
and high-altitude wind power as a research topic in DOE's wind energy
research. Amending HR3165 will give the pioneers of these new
technologies the opportunity to compete for available funding within
the DOE. Your support for this amendment will help meet federal energy
goals, create new jobs, and ensure that the United States leads in the
development of this innovative technology.
Statement of the Solar Energy Industries Association, SEIA, on H.R.
Established in 1974, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA)
is the national trade association of solar energy industry. As the
voice of the industry, SEIA works with its 1,000 member companies to
make solar a mainstream and significant energy source by expanding
markets, removing market barriers, strengthening the industry and
educating the public on the benefits of solar energy.
SEIA would like to commend the leadership of Representative
Gabrielle Giffords on HR 3585. Representative Giffords is an outspoken
and articulate supporter of the solar industry who understands that in
order for the solar energy industry to accelerate its pace of growth
and contribute to job creation, economic development, energy self-
reliance and improved environmental quality in the United States, we
will need to build on our long-standing and highly successful
partnership with the Department of Energy (DOE) on research,
development and deployment (RD&D) of all solar technologies: PV
(Photovoltaics), CPV (Concentrating Photovoltaics), CSP (Concentrating
Solar Power), Solar Heating and Cooling. The continued support of
Congress for solar RD&D and initiatives like HR 3585 are essential for
Historically, DOE has prepared solar roadmaps in collaboration with
all key stakeholders including industry, academia, utilities, and a
wide-ranging mix of local and national energy constituencies. The PV
Manufacturing Roadmap is a recent example of this success, which has
led to measurable and substantial improvements in cost reduction and
performance improvement. The cost of solar panel production has
declined from $33/W in 1979 to as low as $1/W today. As a result of
this progress, we have seen increasing deployment of solar technologies
on homes and commercial roof-tops as well as large, central station
DOE and the national labs have produced significant results in the
CSP side of the industry as well. DOE funding at the national labs
helped develop a trough that was used in the largest CSP trough
facility to be built in nearly 2 decades. Acciona Energy's Nevada Solar
One, a 64-MW plant near Boulder City, Nevada, came online in June 2007.
DOE and Sandia National Lab have supported development of dish-Stirling
technology, culminating in the first commercial dish-Stirling plant,
coming online near Phoenix Arizona in December 2009.
SEIA proposes to build on the success of these efforts leads and
supports an inclusive planning process with DOE for all solar energy
Many of the SEIA member manufacturing companies were born out of
the integrated circuit (IC) industry or with the support of technical
leaders from that sector. We know that industry roadmaps, like the
International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS), accelerated
innovation and cost reduction in the integrated circuit equipment and
manufacturing arenas. However, we believe a roadmap process modeled on
the ITRS that was helpful in the IC industry would be inappropriate for
the solar industry, now and for the future.
Consider the evolution of the IC industry. In the early stages of
growth, the core material--silicon--was configured in several different
device architectures. Once the CMOS (complementary metal--oxide--
semiconductor) structure in silicon emerged as the most scalable single
solution, the ITRS roadmap was implemented and linewidth nodes from
65nm to 45nm to 22nm to 15 nm became the framework for defining tools.
In contrast, a solar cell has only one device architecture, a diode,
but there are literally thousands of material possibilities, including
monosilicon, multisilicon, thin film silicon, cadmium telluride, and
copper indium diselenide.
An important reason for the success of the IC roadmap was that,
unlike the solar industry, the IC industry had a natural split of
intellectual property between processing and chip design and there was
a shared interest between those two groups of companies in mechanical
aspects of wafer size and linewidth geometry. With the competitive
landscape of material and device narrowed to one each, then a
prescriptive roadmap was relevant to the next wave of predictable
The PV segment of the solar industry also differs from the IC
industry in the make-up of the final product. Given that half or more
of the cost of a solar power system can be driven by the balance-of-
system cost (e.g. sales, marketing, permitting, financing, delivery,
installation, monitoring, operations and maintenance of the system), we
recognize that any solar roadmap should incorporate learning from mass
production manufacturing sectors like the automotive industry, the
construction industry, and large household appliances. We already see
examples of the onward march of manufacturing expertise entering the
solar industry from auto businesses like Bosch in Europe and BYD in
Further, we see the emergence of vertically integrated stakeholders
which span the value chain elements of manufacturing silicon, growing
ingots, building solar panels and installing their own power plants.
The solar industry must have the flexibility to address a wide
spectrum of end-user applications ranging over three orders of
magnitude from 500MW power plants in the desert to 5kW residential
rooftops, and over a range of environmental conditions, building and
land characteristics, and end-customer preferences. The solar industry
also has a strong innovation culture with private funding for, and
success in, a wide range of materials, processes and device designs
developed in highly competitive individual small businesses.
Fortunately, the scale of the solar industry even at this early stage
of development is large enough that a single U.S. photovoltaics
manufacturer, such as SunPower Corp., First Solar, United Solar, BP
Solar, Sharp Solar or SolarWorld, can drive tool vendors to develop
machines for the millions of solar panels produced annually by any
innovative, but company-unique technologies. Furthermore, tool vendors,
such as Applied Materials, are at a scale to establish a market for
flexible tool-platforms for both unique technology platforms and
continuously variable configurations, specific for customers' unique
roadmaps. This diversity enables faster growth because the competition
of ideas is always at work. By accelerating cost reduction for the
benefit of all the different approaches have different supply chain
constraints and the diversity of products satisfies a greater range of
We thus support an inclusive planning process with DOE to develop a
roadmap that supports and rewards a rich diversity of PV, CPV, CSP and
solar heating and cooling that are responding to market demands without
prematurely ``picking a winner'' through prescriptive funding assigned
by a select few. One of the key features of a successful roadmap will
be to integrate flexibility at the same time as scaling is enabling
further cost reduction in solar electric power.
Some of our colleagues in the solar industry are just launching
their production manufacturing. Consider CIGS technology, or PVGU (PV
Glazed Units). Should those kinds of technologies find good success in
manufacturing reliable solar panels at a low cost, we would not be wise
to establish a rigid roadmap that directs DOE away from facilitating
the rapid expansion of such promising technologies. We want all current
successful technologies to be encouraged to ramp up as quickly as
possible without putting up hurdles to new, promising technologies born
from our current public and private solar investments.
Finally, we applaud the spirit and intent of HR 3585 to increase
funding and enhance RD&D for solar at DOE. However, we would like to
ensure that the actual funding for R&D continues to grow while
enhancing the scale of the deployment efforts by DOE. The OMB estimated
outlay of $193 million from HR 3585 in 2011 is below 2009 total solar
RD&D DOE funding, and section 105 prescribes significant expenditures
for large-scale deployment support for certain specific project sizes.
Over the last three years, department support of research, development
and deployment in support of commercializing innovative technology and
driving total system cost reduction has been very effective; we believe
that a decrease in this type of funding would have negative
consequences, especially in light of the extreme risk-aversion to
technology exhibited by the financial community after the past year's
credit crunch. With the combination of section 105 project deployment
funding and the potential diversion of up to 75 percent of DOE solar
RD&D funding to select roadmap purposes, we are concerned that the
substantial success of recent DOE solar funding could be at risk.
We all support continued growth of funding for the full spectrum of
solar technologies, (PV, CPV, CSP & Solar Thermal) across the value
chain in addition to the specific project and roadmap funding
contemplated in this bill.
Thank you for the opportunity to comment and support the increased
funding contemplated by HR 3585 and Representative Giffords.
Statement of Len Shepard, CEO, Sky WindPower, on H.R. 3165
I urge you to consider including language specific to high altitude
wind power in any wind, climate or energy legislation, including HR3165
and related bils. Everyone who flies across the United States has
experienced the tremendous power in high altitude winds. As you know,
that is why it typically takes 4-5 hours to cross our continent going
west to east and 5-6 hours east to west. Because the wind at altitude
is not limited to ridge lines or other surface geography, we have the
flexibility to tap this tremendous power source using existing
transmission lines. High altitude wind energy conversion systems can
transform the energy landscape, generating enough power to meet the
USA's most aggressive renewable energy goals. We need your support to
This November's High Altitude Wind Power Conference revealed
diverse methods from nearly a dozen companies to convert high altitude
winds into clean energy. About 50 million private sector dollars have
been invested in a half dozen of these companies that are developing
airborne technologies to tap this very high (50-80%) capacity factor
A new industry of American leadership and jobs can be gained with
your support. Government funding for this new industry will
significantly decrease the time to bring this power source on line and
increase the speed at which new clean tech jobs are created. America is
the right place to develop these systems because the aerospace
technology and know-how is here.
We and others believe that high altitude wind power conversion
systems can take us cleanly through the 21st century and beyond. Time
Magazine included Sky WindPower's Flying Electric Generators as one of
the 50 Best Inventions of 2008. The July 30, 2009 issue of Nature
displayed the efforts of Makani Power, Joby Energy, Magenn Power, and
Sky WindPower. Recently, Sky WindPower was featured under utilities in
the London Times. The December 2009 issue of Scientific American
included Flying Electric Generators in their ``20 World Changing
You can help us achieve energy independence, exceed carbon emission
reduction targets, and create American jobs by supporting the
development and testing of high altitude wind power conversion systems.
Thank you in advance for your consideration.
Statement of Gabriel Hugh Elkaim, Associate Professor, Autonomous
Systems Lab, Computer Engineering, University of California, Santa
Cruz, CA, on H.R. 3165
Through my work as a researcher of applied control systems at the
University of California at Santa Cruz, I've become acquainted with the
efforts of Joby Energy, Inc. and others working to develop airborne
wind turbine technology. This small group of innovative entrepreneurs
is leading the exploration of new technology that has the potential to
revolutionize the wind turbine industry.
As you are undoubtedly aware, wind energy as conventionally
implemented has very serious problems with capacity and intermittency;
the fact that the energy is diffuse and low-density and requires backup
generation capacity (hot idling peakers) or a currently unavailable
smart electric grid to move the energy across geographically diverse
regions such that scattered wind effects ``average'' out. Technological
advances will help the efficiencies at the margins, but this is
essentially a problem of physics. Germany's experience in large scale
wind energy portfolio and required gas turbine backups makes this
By ``lifting'' the turbine to high altitude and the jet stream,
many of these problems can be addressed. The science is clear: high
altitude wind holds a vast amount of energy and recent technology
advances and innovative engineering now make it possible to harness
that energy and put it to work. While the engineering challenges are
great, the physics are very much in favor of the high altitude
Amending H.R. 3165 to include research foci on high altitude wind
and airborne wind turbine technology will enhance current research and
development efforts to potentially deliver options for timely and
responsive solutions to our energy crisis.
Thank you for your consideration.
Statement of JoeBen Bevirt, Founder, Joby Energy, Inc., Santa Cruz, CA,
on H.R. 3165
I am writing to request the inclusion of amendments to support
exploration of high-altitude wind energy as a research topic for the
Wind Energy Research and Development Act of 2009 (HR 3165).
Specifically, we request that the words ``and altitudes'' be
inserted on page 3, line 20 after ``variety of wind conditions''; and,
on page 4, line 4 insert (9) ``airborne wind turbine technology''
(version dated September 10, 2009).
These amendments will allow developers of this transformational
technology to compete for research and development funding at the
Currently, federally supported efforts to advance conventional wind
energy technologies yield only incremental efficiency gains. However,
energy generation is truly limited by the low capacity and
intermittency of surface winds.
Research conducted by Dr. Ken Caldeira of Stanford University and
Dr. Cristina Archer of California State University shows that high-
altitude winds are significantly stronger and more consistent than
surface winds. Focus on the research and development of airborne wind
turbines can help harness high-altitude wind, a vast and dependable
source of energy.
Several innovative companies, in collaboration with academia, are
developing airborne wind turbines that can generate renewable energy at
a cost and capacity comparable with coal power plants.
Additionally, the deployment of reliable and low-cost renewable
energy technology will help achieve energy independence, create
numerous jobs, and mitigate environmental damage.
Therefore, I am requesting the Committee act to spur the
exploration of high-altitude wind energy and development of airborne
wind turbines by amending HR 3165. Harnessing this resource presents a
true cost-effective alternative to fossil-fuel based power generation.
Thank you for your consideration.
Statement of Corwin Hardam, Founder and CEO, Makani Power, Inc.,
Alameda, CA, on H.R. 3165
At altitudes just above conventional wind turbines, there is a wind
energy source that is too large to ignore. Recent studies by Dr.
Caldeira (Stanford) and Dr. Archer (Cal State) have shown the available
energy in the winds at altitude above the continental US to be many
times greater than the current global level of consumption. At this
time, American companies are the technology leaders in the exploration
of this untapped resource. For the success of these companies, it is
critical that you include language specific to airborne wind energy in
any wind, climate or energy legislation, particularly HR3165 and
This new resource has been vetted by the private sector. Google
Inc. is a strong supporter in airborne wind energy and has invested
$15M in our company. However, private equity alone cannot establish
this technology at the utility scale and must be coupled with Federal
support to establish airborne wind energy as a viable area of
exploration. This cannot happen unless high-altitude wind energy is
listed as a research topic for the Wind Energy Research and Development
Act of 2009 (HR 3165).
Statement of Grant Calverley, President, SkyMill Energy, Inc, Friday
Harbor, WA, on H.R. 3165
SkyMill Energy, Inc., supported by The Boeing Company, is
developing an innovative technology that could generate an almost
unlimited supply of renewable energy for our nation from high altitude
winds. We would greatly appreciate your help with fixing the
unintentional omission of high altitude wind power research in bill
HR3165, the Wind Energy Research and Development Act of 2009 .
High-altitude wind represents an enormous and untapped form of
highly concentrated renewable energy. The US appears to seriously lag
several countries in research and funding to find a commercially
practical technology to tap this abundant potential resource. The DOE
currently has no apparent activity in this area.
SkyMill Energy, other US based high altitude wind power
researchers, propose to demonstrate such transformational technologies.
SkyMill's innovative system is performing successfully in subscale
prototypes and high-fidelity engineering simulations. The results to
date suggest that a full-scale commercial system could outperform
current-technology land based wind turbines by over a factor of five.
Due to the current complete lack of DOE interest in airborne wind
power technologies, SkyMill Energy is investigating a mix of Chinese
venture capital, Chinese government funding and Chinese airspace to
commercialize our system. This is not our preferred development path,
but one we may be forced to follow with out a change in policy.
HR3165 properly supports a variety of programs to advance
terrestrial wind turbine technology, however, the current bills wording
precludes funding for any high altitude wind power technologies.
Following are two suggested changes.
Sec. 2 (b) (6) advanced control systems and blade sensors to
improve performance and reliability under a wide variety of
wind conditions and altitudes;
Sec. 2 (b) (new line item after item (8) Airborne wind power
Thanks for your assistance.
Statement of Cristina L. Archer, Department of Geological and
Environmental Sciences, California State University Chico, Chico, CA on
I am writing to encourage your support of amending HR 3165 to
include language that would promote exploration of high altitude wind
energy and research and development of airborne wind turbines for
capturing this immense resource. Inclusion of this language in the Wind
Energy Research and Development Act of 2009 would help innovators in
the emerging high-altitude wind power sector to bring this new
technology to fruition.
It is known that winds typically get stronger with increasing
altitude. Through research at Stanford University and California State
University we have extensively characterized this phenomenon and
estimated the power potential of global tropospheric winds. The power
contained in high-altitude winds is not just higher but also more
consistent, in general, than winds near the Earth's surface.
In November 2009, we hosted the first annual High-Altitude Wind
Power conference in northern California, drawing participation from
several technology developers and researchers in this field. The
results of their work show tremendous promise for the deployment of
low-cost, reliable and clean energy.
I believe the research and development of technologies to harness
the power of high-altitude winds can dramatically increase our
renewable energy generation while establishing our technical leadership
and enabling energy independence.
Again, I encourage you to support these amendments that are crucial
to help solve our energy crisis.
Statement of Michael G. Wheeler, County Council Chair, Los Alamos
County, Los Alamos, NM, on H.R. 2729
On behalf of the Incorporated County of Los Alamos, New Mexico
(``County''), I am writing to express the County's support for the
National Environmental Research Park Legislation (H.R. 2729, To
authorize the designation of National Environmental Research Parks by
the Secretary of Energy, and for other purposes) (``NERP Legislation'')
provided certain amendments are made to the NERP Legislation that are
described in this letter and set forth in Attachment A.*
* Document has been retained in subcommittee files.
The NERP Legislation will provide funding for ongoing environmental
research at U.S. Department of Energy (``DOE'') sites around the
country. The important mission of each environmental research park is
to conduct research, train people in ecological and environmental
sciences and to educate the public.
The County has learned that NERP activities at those DOE sites
where they are sufficiently funded have been valuable to the adjacent
communities. The current programs have ensured that the communities
adjacent to DOE sites are educated on the positive environmental
activities at the DOE sites. Further, the NERP Legislation will provide
researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory with sufficient funds to
continue their important environmental research and expand the program
to include community education. The County supports such activities and
wants similar education, outreach, and research programs to occur
throughout Northern New Mexico.
Upon reviewing the NERP Legislation, the County has two primary
concerns: 1) the need for community input into the creation of formal
environmental research parks, and 2) the potential unintended
consequence that environmental research parks may impact ongoing
activities at DOE sites--including land transfer which is critical for
the County's future self-sufficiency and economic diversification. To
address these two concerns, the County recommends the following
amendments to the NERP Legislation (which are inserted into the
legislation as Attachment A for your reference):
Section 2(b) is amended by inserting: ``(b) Local Government
Involvement-Prior to designating each National Environmental
Research Park, the Secretary of Energy shall seek input from
the effective units of local government surrounding each site
regarding each local National Environmental Research Park.''
Renumber previous Sections 2(b) through 2(f) accordingly.
Section 2(f) (as renumbered) is amended by inserting: ``(4)
update local communities on National Environmental Research
Section 3 is amended by inserting as the last sentence:
``Nothing in this Act shall be construed to constrain the
transfer of lands otherwise surplus and excess to programmatic
needs of the Federal Government to surrounding local
Each of the suggested changes should not change the actual
operation of these proposed environmental research parks and should
only clarify what the County has been told by the parties advocating
this NERP Legislation--that the NERP legislation will not impact
ongoing activities at the sites. The County also believes the suggested
amendments will enhance involvement and participation by the local
governments at the other DOE sites identified in the NERP Legislation
which will only enhance the educational outreach activities and ensure
that a broader community is aware of these scientific endeavors.
Statement of Klaus S. Lackner, Maurice Ewing and J. Lamar Worzel
Professor of Geophysics, Chair, Department of Earth and Environmental
Engineering, Columbia University, Director, Lenfest Center for
Sustainable Energy at the Earth Institute, Columbia University, New
I saw the hearing notice for the Air Capture Prize and am pleased
to submit a testimony for the record. While it is understood that
capturing carbon dioxide emissions from power plants is necessary to
reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, dilute capture of carbon
dioxide is of particular long-term importance. Unlike more widely known
carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies, dilute capture
development would especially benefit from a prize such as the one being
considered by this bill.
We need new technologies like air capture to complement existing
CCS strategies. Since capture from dilute sources can be done anywhere
at any time, it is particularly well-suited to start small in niche
markets where there is demand for commercial carbon dioxide. Offering a
prize for the development of dilute carbon dioxide capture technology
is a positive move to encourage technology research and development.
The prize creates visibility and will foster entrepreneurial approaches
and a healthy spirit of competition. With successful implementation, it
will stimulate efforts in the right direction which will ideally have
future government involvement to ensure long-term success.
I am encouraged by this Air Capture Prize bill and believe it will
result in valuable advances in the development of new technologies in
the dilute capture of carbon dioxide.
Thank you for your time and attention.
November 30, 2009.
I am Klaus S. Lackner, Ewing-Worzel Professor of Geophysics at
Columbia University. My research focuses on the management of carbon
and carbon dioxide to avoid climate change. I am investigating
technologies that can provide plentiful, clean energy from fossil fuels
without contributing to the build-up of carbon dioxide in the
atmosphere. While I certainly build on a foundation of earlier work, I
am generally considered to have started the concept of air capture of
carbon dioxide for managing the atmosphere's carbon loading. By now
there are a number of different research groups pursuing this goal. and
I have helped found a company that aims to develop commercially viable
air capture. I am also working at Columbia University to understand the
underlying basic mechanism of dilute capture of carbon dioxide.
While one might debate the highest acceptable level of carbon
dioxide in the atmosphere, there is little argument that there is a
threshold that should not be exceeded. Unfortunately, holding the
carbon dioxide level of the atmosphere constant at any reasonable level
will require drastic reductions in emissions before the world breaches
this threshold. It is not sufficient to hold emissions constant.
Persistent global emissions, even if they were three times smaller than
today's emissions, would drive the carbon dioxide concentration over
any such threshold. The natural return to an earlier level, even after
stopping all emissions. could take many centuries or even millennia.
Holding the line at a third of current global emissions would permit a
world average per capita emission that is but a few percent of the
current per capita emissions in the United States. The concerns over
climate change challenge the viability of fossil fuels, which
unavoidably produce carbon dioxide when they are consumed.
At the same time, all countries that strive for improvements in
their living standards and desire to maintain economic growth will need
ready access to affordable energy. Policies must provide access to
increasing energy supplies while stopping the accumulation of carbon
dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere. This is the conundrum of
climate change. Simply abandoning fossil fuels over the next few
decades in favor of other alternatives is impractical. The enormous
price strains in the oil sector over the last decade were driven by far
smaller mismatches in supply and demand than would occur if more than
80% of the world's energy infrastructure would need to be phased out.
Fortunately, it is not necessary to stop the use of fossil fuels if the
carbon dioxide produced can be kept out of the atmosphere. It is the
emissions of carbon dioxide not the use fossil fuels that need to be
Although carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies by
themselves may be insufficient for stabilizing the climate in a timely
fashion, without CCS, stabilization is a nearly impossible task. This
is especially true if the commonly cited threshold of 450 parts per
million (ppm) of CO2 in the air proves to be the critical
limit. While one must consider all options from improved energy
efficiency, to non-fossil energy alternatives, one must include carbon
dioxide storage, because abandoning fossil fuels would be extremely
disruptive to the global economy.
Much of the focus in CCS has been on capture from large
concentrated sources of carbon dioxide, like power plants, steel plants
and cement plants. However, a large fraction of all emissions comes
from small, dilute and distributed emission sources. CCS could make a
far larger contribution to climate stabilization if it could also
address the capture of carbon dioxide from dilute sources, among them
the atmosphere itself If CCS is to contribute significantly to an
emissions reduction of 80% in the United States by 2050, then it is
necessary to address the transportation sector, the home sector, and
all those emissions that would otherwise be too difficult to control.
Capture from dilute streams, particularly from the air. offers the
opportunity to reduce emissions across the board. Capture from dilute
streams is quite different from other methods of capturing carbon
dioxide. Its feasibility seems counterintuitive to some. Why should it
be possible to collect carbon dioxide from streams that are several
hundred times more dilute than those encountered in power plants? Yet
the thermodynamic analysis is quite clear. The additional energy
required for air capture when compared to flue gas scrubbing is indeed
small. While some detractors still point to engineering rules of thumb,
these generic rules do not address the specifics of real
implementations that have been demonstrated, and these rules seem
similar to those used to ``demonstrate-that heavier-than-air flight is
not possible. These types of objections ignore that birds can fly and
trees can collect carbon dioxide from the air.
Analysis reveals that a windmill that would reduce emissions by
displacing fossil-fuelproduced electricity would be far larger than a
carbon dioxide collector that would recapture an equivalent amount of
carbon dioxide. Moreover, I and others have shown that the minimum
binding strength of the carbon dioxide absorber need not be much larger
than the binding strength required to capture carbon dioxide from the
flue stack of a conventional coal fired power plant. The analogy to
windmills suggests that contacting the air is not limiting the process;
the analogy to power plants suggests that the dominant costs are
similar to those encountered in flue gas scrubbing.
Unlike carbon dioxide capture from large concentrated sources,
capture from the air can be done anywhere and anytime. This means it is
possible to start small. Rather than trying to solve the carbon
management problem at once, one can begin by filling the small market
niche of industrial and commercial carbon dioxide demand. A big power
plant would immediately overwhelm any local market for carbon dioxide.
Unlike power plant capture and storage, capture from dilute streams can
become a standalone business that can operate on any scale. One can
start with individual entrepreneurs and small companies that sell
physical carbon dioxide or create carbon dioxide credits. The market
for carbon reductions is potentially very large, but today's prices are
low. The market for physical carbon dioxide that is used for
industrial, agricultural and commercial applications is much smaller,
and prices vary geographically, but in some locations where carbon
dioxide is trucked in over large distances these prices are currently
very high. Carbon dioxide capture from dilute sources, specifically
from the air, provides an enormous arbitrage opportunity that--even in
its early stages when a ton of carbon dioxide is still expensive--can
satisfy commercial demands. Thus, dilute capture will create a business
opportunity that allows bootstrapping the technology in ways that are
not possible in the utility sector. Such a business will see climate
change demands as an opportunity, in contrast to an existing utility,
which at best will see carbon management as an unavoidable cost of
Offering a prize, such as the one proposed by this bill, for the
development of dilute carbon dioxide capture technology is a positive
move to encourage technology development. The prize creates visibility,
and it provides a clear sign of the realization that we need more than
business as usual to lead us to carbon dioxide stabilization. By
focusing on dilute streams, the prize is offered to the one sector in
the carbon management arena that is open to entrepreneurial approaches.
The prize. if implemented as intended, would offer a challenge and will
stimulate efforts in the right direction. Just like the DARPA challenge
for autonomous cars, it will bring forward numerous small entrepreneurs
and academic institutions that will focus on the theoretical
underpinnings. Supporting such development is a good idea. It will
create more competition in a field that is new and accelerate it from a
few players to a bigger development in a short time.
Since, as I argue below, the technology is not only feasible but
also transformative, a prize alone will not be sufficient to assure
development of this field. The prize will focus entrepreneurial energy,
engender debate and deliver a proof of principle. However, ultimately,
a technology of such importance deserves ongoing governmental support.
Capturing carbon dioxide from the air will be an important development.
A recent article in Nature by Sarewitz and Nelson, pointed out that air
capture if it can be done, has all the important features necessary to
solve the climate change problem. Air capture, combined with CCS,
addresses the root of the problem, which is the accumulation of the
carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. It does so without forcing
established technologies out of business, and it assures that any
emission of carbon dioxide, no matter how difficult to control at the
source, can be canceled out or compensated for. Institutional barriers
are easier to overcome if entrenched interests are not forced out. Once
air capture is implemented, it provides a baseline against which all
other capture options could be measured.
Capture of carbon dioxide from ambient air clearly could play a
major role in the transportation sector. It would make it possible to
retain gasoline, diesel and jet fuel for cars, trucks and air planes.
Liquid carbon based fuels provide an exceptionally convenient and
energy-dense option for storing energy on board of vehicles. The use of
air capture makes it possible to retain these fuels.
It is my assessment that the cost of air capture can be driven down
to the point where it would add no more than ten percent to the price
of gasoline. While I can give reasons why this is plausible, the only
way to prove such a bold statement is to deliver on this goal. The
prize will spur such development.
It is quite possible that Jim Hansen is correct and that we have
already exceed the safe limit of carbon dioxide in the air, or that
even with the best of intentions, we cannot reduce emissions fast
enough to stop climate change. Even if all emissions were stopped
today, global warming could continue for decades. In that case it may
be necessary to reduce the carbon dioxide concentration in the
atmosphere. Air capture is one of the few technologies that could
accomplish this in a reasonable amount of time. Yet one should not rely
on air capture to achieve a last minute rescue. It is worth noting that
an even a short excursion above the safe threshold poses a severe risk
of irreversible damage. For example, it is not possible to refreeze
glacier fast enough to prevent irreversible damage.
Finally, air capture is not something that would be implemented at
the expense of other alternative energy forms. Indeed, air capture
provides an opportunity to give these alternatives a much wider range
of applications. It can provide carbon dioxide for growing algae for
biofuels, which need carbon dioxide supplements to maintain rapid
growth. Air capture could also provide carbon dioxide for the
production of synthetic fuels from carbon dioxide, water and renewable
energy. A world with ample renewable energy could produce synthetic
fuels to solve the complex problem of storing energy on board of
vehicles and planes.
It is refreshing to see a bipartisan approach to finding a
practical solution to the climate change/energy conundrum. The Barasso-
Bingaman bill makes a strong statement that technology is important for
solving the climate change problem. I believe that carbon capture from
dilute sources is of particular long-term importance. Unlike most CCS
technologies, dilute capture development would benefit from a prize.
After development has begun, I would hope for deeper government
involvement for this new and vital technology.