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Knight Measure To Spur Energy Innovation Passes House

Bill Would Authorize Groundbreaking Research Program

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Washington, July 14, 2016 | Daniel Outlaw (202-225-1956) | comments
Legislation by Rep. Steve Knight (CA-25) that would establish a Department of Energy (DOE) research initiative focused on new ways to create storable solar energy passed the House with unanimous support this week. 

H.R. 5638, the Solar Fuels Innovation Act, would institute a research program at the DOE Office of Science to develop the advanced chemistry needed in order to convert sunlight into storable fuels. The bill was introduced by Rep. Knight earlier this year and quickly passed the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology overwhelmingly. On Monday H.R. 5638 was heard on the House floor, where it passed with zero opposition.

“This legislation would chart the path on breakthrough technology to turn sunlight into storable fuels, fundamentally changing the way we get energy and leading to entirely new economic sectors,”
said Knight. “By wisely directing our resources toward meaningful research today we can expand the useful technologies and systems fueling our solar energy economy in our community and across the country.”

The Solar Fuels Innovation Act is supported by a wide range of educational institutions, including Caltech and UC Irvine. Knight, who serves as Vice-Chairman of the Science, Space and Technology Subcommittee on Energy, says the legislation will allow innovative companies to take advantage of research conducted in our national labs and universities and translate that knowledge into new energy technology that otherwise would be too expensive to develop. In this way, the legislation could have long-term economic impacts and would serve as a cost-effective way to advance American innovation in energy. 

“The Solar Fuels Innovation Act is a big step forward in providing the private sector with the scientific understanding needed to eventually commercialize solar fuels technologies and advance our nation’s energy policy,”
continued Rep. Knight. “I’m proud to be a part of this effort and I thank my colleagues, especially Chairman Lamar Smith and the Science Committee, for their support.”

Because H.R. 5638 directs funds already authorized for the DOE Office of Science it creates no new costs and instead focuses limited tax dollars on basic research. The bill passed the House on Monday night with unanimous, bipartisan support.
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