WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), and Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) introduced the Partnerships for Energy Security and Innovation Act, bipartisan legislation to establish a nonprofit foundation for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) that would channel private-sector investments to support DOE’s mission and to accelerate the commercialization of innovative technologies in energy, like next-generation batteries, low-carbon fuels, and advanced materials. Last Congress, the senators proposed the foundation in the bipartisan and bicameral IMPACT for Energy Act, which passed the House of Representatives as part of the Clean Economy Jobs and Innovation Act.
“The Partnerships for Energy Security and Innovation Act would bolster private-sector investments and accelerate the commercialization of clean energy technologies that promote U.S. competitiveness and help us meet the global challenge of climate change,” said Senator Coons. “I am excited to introduce this bipartisan bill on Earth Day to drive innovation in the energy sector and advance the next generation of energy technologies that will be critical in meeting President Biden’s ambitious target of reducing U.S. emissions by 50 percent by 2030.”
“Investing in research and development – particularly as it pertains to energy – is a no-brainer. The Partnerships for Energy Security and Innovation Act would allow the Department of Energy to partner with the private sector, creating a unique opportunity for innovation. I was proud to work with Senator Coons and Senator Luján, on this important legislation,” said Senator Graham. “Our bill will help foster new ideas and partnerships to keep America on the cutting edge of economic and technological developments.”
“The Department of Energy has an important role to play in America’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Partnerships for Energy Security and Innovation Act helps the DOE fulfill this role by adopting a proven model to support the research, development, and commercial application of technologies that address our nation’s energy challenges,” said Senator Luján. “I’m proud to join Senator Coons to reintroduce legislation I championed in the House that promotes innovation, supports American companies, and creates good-paying jobs.”
Research and development drives innovation and GDP growth in the United States. However, declining global shares of research expenditures severely jeopardize U.S. economic competitiveness. Unlike other sectors, the energy sector faces several unique challenges to innovation including high capital needs, long development time, and a shifting regulatory environment. The Partnerships for Energy Security and Innovation Act addresses these challenges by fostering partnerships between government, industry, startups, and outside funding organizations through a Foundation for Energy Security and Innovation
Creation of a DOE foundation was the lead recommendation of two independent reports:
· National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA). Completed in response to the Fiscal Year 2020 funding appropriations bill, a report released by NAPA in January 2021 concludes that a DOE foundation would provide a complementary and supplementary role to the DOE, National Labs, and the lab-associated foundations.
· Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF). A report released by ITIF in May 2020 concludes that a DOE foundation would foster public-private collaboration, connecting innovators with partners, funding, and tools to bring clean energy technologies to market.
The Partnerships for Energy Security and Innovation Act is endorsed by the American Sustainable Business Council, Association of University Research Parks, BPC Action, CalCharge, Confluence Philanthropy, FedTech, National Association of State Energy Officials, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, JLW Advising, and Social Venture Circle.
“The American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC) and Social Venture Circle (SVC) are pleased to support the creation of the Foundation for Energy Security Innovation (FESI), as proposed by Senators Coons, Graham and Lujan,” said Carolyn Pincus, Director of Strategy, American Sustainable Business Council. “The United States continues to need the federal government to work in supporting and attracting private investment into the clean energy sector, and applaud any and all efforts for non-partisan partnerships to help pave the way for achieving net-zero goals. With the ever-mounting challenges that continue to emerge in regards to climate change, social equity and economic innovation, the creation of FESI would be a welcome initiative. ASBC and SVC look forward to working with members of Congress and the White House to achieve our climate, social and economic goals.”
"Confluence Philanthropy has been closing following the development of the Foundation for Energy Security and Innovation and whole-heartedly endorses it to advance collaboration with energy researchers, institutions of higher education, industry, and nonprofit and philanthropic organizations to accelerate the commercialization of energy technologies,” said Dana Lanza, CEO, Confluence Philanthropy. “Increasing private and philanthropic sector investments that support efforts to create, characterize, develop, test, validate, and deploy or commercialize innovative technologies that address crosscutting national energy challenges is timely and essential."
“The clean energy foundation proposed by Sens. Coons and Graham is an innovative and cost-effective way to drive important investments in energy research and development,” said Michele Stockwell, Executive Director, BPC Action. “BPC’s American Energy Innovation Council recommended a similar approach to foster public and private collaboration to accelerate energy innovation. I am pleased to see members of Congress working together to advance this important and creative idea."
"AURP supports the Partnerships for Energy Security and Innovation Act,” said Brian Darmody, CEO, Association of University Research Parks. “As a leading nonprofit helping universities, federal laboratories, hospitals, and communities across the U.S. build communities of innovation, AURP has advocated for flexible and meaningful engagement of the federal labs in tech-based economic development. Providing DOE labs flexible partnership authority like that enjoyed by university research foundations is a move forward for U.S. competitiveness."
“The Foundation for Energy Security and Innovation is an idea whose time has come,” said David Hart, Senior Fellow, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. “It will help DOE achieve its mission with greater agility and effectiveness, offer the private sector and philanthropy valuable new ways to engage with the Department’s unparalleled resources for science and innovation, and accelerate the translation of DOE-funded ideas into commercial use.”
"The United States has benefited greatly from federally funded R&D, but we are in a new era where science alone cannot meet the great challenges of our time,” said Jetta Wong, President of JLW Advising and former Director of Technology Transitions, DOE. “The creation of a DOE Foundation will strengthen our R&D system by leveraging additional funding sources as well as new public private partnership models to accelerate the commercialization of new technology into the market."
"FedTech, a venture accelerator specializing in the commercialization of technology, looks forward to the establishment of the Foundation for Energy Security and Innovation (FESI),” said Ben Solomon, Founder and Managing Partner, FedTech. “This organization will prove to be a vital part of the entrepreneurial ecosystem as the United States develops the next generation of breakthrough technology-based ventures, driving economic growth and American competitiveness."
“NASEO—the National Association of State Energy Officials—supports the Partnerships for Energy Security and Innovation Act and creation of a Foundation for Energy Security and Innovation (FESI),” said David Terry, Executive Director, National Association of State Energy Officials. “FESI will accelerate the commercialization of energy technologies needed to strengthen the nation’s economy and resilience while meeting our critical climate and environmental challenges. We look forward to robust State Energy Office engagement with FESI.”
The Partnerships for Energy Security and Innovation Act would: