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July 17, 2020

Chairwoman Johnson 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 Eddie Bernice Johnson’s (D-TX) opening statement for the record is below.

Thank you, Chairwoman Fletcher, for holding this hearing today, and I would also like to thank our witnesses for participating.

The Department of Energy’s technology transfer activities are critical to getting the fruits of our public investments in clean energy research, development, and demonstration into the hands of the American people. Technology transfer takes on many forms, ranging from additional funding to first-of-a-kind technologies, to training scientists to think more about how to commercialize their discoveries, to providing the private sector with greater access to our national laboratories’ facilities and expertise.

Every technology’s pathway to market adoption is different, but the benefits of their transfer are clear. Technology commercialization leads to licensing revenue for federal and university laboratories, new products and services for the American people, and a more competitive U.S. economy that supports jobs and attracts talent.

We are in the midst of a global COVID-19 pandemic that shows little signs of abating. We have had historic job losses and our economy has suffered significant dislocations. Recovering from this pandemic is going to take time, resources, and leadership. Job creation is going to be a priority, and DOE’s technology transfer programs can play an important role in promoting our economic recovery.

In addition to the contribution technology transfer makes to our economic growth, it can also play an important role in our transition to a clean energy future. For example, DOE’s Technology Commercialization Fund provides funding to national labs—often in partnership with private sector partners—to commercialize promising lab technologies. These funds and public-private partnerships bring new clean energy technologies one step closer to making a real difference in mitigating the most significant potential impacts of the climate crisis.

But despite DOE’s ongoing work, we can and must do more. Providing additional funding to research and demonstrate those technologies is critical, but we’ll also need effective technology transfer processes to push resulting inventions into the marketplace as quickly as possible.

With all that in mind, I look forward to hearing from our esteemed panel of witnesses and welcome them to this hearing. Thank you, and I yield back the balance of my time.