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July 17, 2020

Chairwoman Fletcher Opening Statement for Hearing on Bolstering DOE Technology Transfer Activities to Accelerate Economic Recovery

(Washington, DC) – Today, the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology’s Subcommittee on Energy is holding a hearing titled, “From Lab to Market: Accelerating our Progress toward Economic Recovery and a Clean Energy Future.”

Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Energy, Rep. Lizzie Fletcher’s (D-TX), opening statement for the record is below.

Good afternoon and thank you to all of our witnesses that are joining us virtually today to discuss the importance of advancing the commercialization of new energy technologies as an important component of our economic recovery from the ongoing health crisis.

Here in Houston, Texas, we are the nation’s energy leaders and believe in an all-of-the-above approach. Texas produces more energy than any other state and we are always coming up with new ideas to do things bigger and better. In Texas, energy isn’t just the way get electricity, it’s an investment in the economic development of our communities and businesses.

While my home state of Texas is well known for being the country’s largest oil and gas producer, we are also the largest wind energy producer in the country as well and are now tied as the fourth largest generator of solar power. We are also leading the way in technologies like carbon capture.

At the heart of clean energy lies supporting entrepreneurship, startups, and innovation. Clean energy technology faces unique barriers to commercialization that other technologies aren’t subject to, including high up-front capital costs, long development times, and the need to overcome incumbent technologies. That’s why we need targeted programs to overcome these barriers and reap the benefits of investing in clean energy.

The Department of Energy has championed several important programs to help reduce barriers to commercialization of clean energy technologies. This includes programs to commercialize research done at the national laboratories, support clean energy incubators across the nation, and provide business training and other commercialization assistance to national lab employees and entrepreneurs.

These and other programs help bolster the efforts of our fantastic panelists here today, each of whom contributes to the important mission of strengthening clean energy commercialization. I am especially pleased to have Dr. Emily Reichert here on our panel from Greentown Labs. This leading clean energy incubator announced last month that they would be opening a new incubator right here in my hometown of Houston.

If we do this right, we can position our country to be the clean energy technology exporter of the world. Much like the Space Race of the 20th century, our nation is at a critical moment where we can choose to lead the way in developing 21st century technologies, or we could lose that role to other countries who are investing much more in these efforts. I will do what I can to make sure we are leaders, not followers. Investing in clean energy innovation means investing in the economic future of Houston, Texas, and our entire country.

I want to again thank our excellent panel of witnesses assembled today and I look forward to hearing your testimony. With that, I yield back.