WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) introduced the Energizing Technology Transfer Act, legislation that will help deploy American clean energy innovations based at the Department of Energy (DOE). Companion legislation introduced by Representatives Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) and Chuck Fleischmann (R-Tenn.) is expected to pass the House of Representatives today as part of the Clean Economy Jobs and Innovation Act

The United States is a world leader in energy research, with 17 DOE-led laboratories investigating every aspect of the energy ecosystem to help provide clean, reliable access to energy for the future. Despite the advances made through our federal laboratory system, it remains difficult to transition these innovative ideas to the marketplace. This legislation helps address many of these hurdles.

To help bridge the gap between research and demonstration efforts at DOE, the Energizing Technology Transfer Act establishes and expands multiple clean energy technology transfer programs, supports commercialization opportunities at national labs, and modernizes the DOE for a new era of clean energy commercialization.

“Clean energy innovation is essential if we are going to address the climate crisis,” said Senator Coons. “Barriers to bringing technology out of the research phase are hurting our ability to deploy clean energy research in our national labs. The Energizing Technology Transfer Act brings together a number of bipartisan proposals that will unleash the potential of our federal research institutions and support American competitiveness.”

“In a highly competitive world that is looking to technology and innovation to lower emissions, it is becoming increasingly important that we look for ways to speed scientific discovery and support our national labs in those efforts,” said Senator Cassidy. “Through technological breakthroughs, we have the opportunity to show the world that through innovation, we can lower emissions and maintain a modern economy.” 

“Clean energy technologies face unique barriers to successful commercialization, including high up-front capital costs, long development times, and the need to displace incumbent technologies,” said Congresswoman Johnson, Chairwoman of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee. “For these reasons, we need dedicated federal support for programs that help accelerate the commercialization of clean energy technologies. That is why I introduced the Energizing Technology Transfer Act with Rep. Fleischmann, which authorizes a series of programs that will support this important mission at the Department of Energy and our national labs. I look forward to supporting these programs as we continue to fight the climate crisis.” 

“Our national laboratories continue to lead in innovation for energy research, including Tennessee’s own Oak Ridge National Laboratory,” Congressman Fleischmann said. “I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing the bipartisan and bicameral Energizing Technology Transfer Act. This legislation will better enable the national labs to bring clean energy technology to the marketplace through entrepreneurship programs, and access to business and commercialization resources. Introducing this flexibility for national labs is a crucial step to ensure that America remains competitive amongst our global peers.”

The Energizing Technology Transfer Act supports the commercialization of clean energy research by: 

·         Bringing together clean energy researchers: Supports the coordination of technology transfer activities at DOE and authorizes DOE’s Energy I-Corps program to provide entrepreneurial training to national lab employees. 

·         Expanding the impact of national labs and their researchers: Creates opportunities for researchers, including an entrepreneurial leave program and authority to perform consulting while at a national lab, opens up access to laboratory facilities and equipment to small businesses, and supports activities that promote education in entrepreneurship.

·         Modernizing DOE’s approach to transitioning research to market: Assists DOE efforts for technology transition by establishing programs to oversee demonstration project management and to streamline prize competitions, authorizes a new milestone-based, pay-for-success model for energy demonstration projects, and facilitates additional flexibility in contracting between DOE and the private sector.

More information about the bill can be found here.

The Energizing Technology Transfer Act is endorsed by the American Chemical Society, American Council for Capital Formation, BPC Action, Associated Universities Inc., ClearPath Action, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc (IEEE-USA), Third Way, FedTech, and The Optical Society.

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