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Tonko Clean Energy Innovation Bills Advance Out of Committee

Science Committee approves measures to advance U.S. wind energy, gas turbine technologies

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Washington, July 24, 2019 | comments

WASHINGTONThe House Committee on Science, Space and Technology advanced two clean energy innovation bills sponsored by Congressman Paul Tonko (D-NY), the first supporting expanded U.S. wind energy research and innovation, the other investing in research and development to improve gas turbine efficiency.

“As floodwaters rise, wildfires spread and heat waves continue to threaten our communities, technology improvements and energy innovation cannot come soon enough,” said Tonko. “The legislation advanced today will put science and American ingenuity to work to develop technologies that create thousands of jobs and help reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions. I thank my colleagues on the Science Committee for their support.”

H.R. 3609, the Wind Energy Research and Development Act of 2019, cosponsored by Reps. Don Bacon (R-NE)Joseph Kennedy (D-MA), and Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE), would give formal authorization to the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Wind Energy. Wind energy makes up 6.6 percent of all U.S. utility-scale power generation today, and the field is constantly evolving with government support. According to DOE, wind energy could supply more than one-third of America’s total electricity needs by 2050. This legislation was introduced by Tonko earlier this month.

“Investing in wind power will lower energy bills for consumers and businesses alike, accelerate the growth and viability of new technologies, and increase economic activity including in rural areas,” Tonko added. “This bill will also work to educate local communities about wind energy and lower potential barriers to adopting wind energy.”

The Committee also approved an amendment to support gas turbine efficiency, authored by Tonko, to H.R. 3607, the Fossil Energy Research and Development Act of 2019. Tonko’s amendment was based on bipartisan legislation, H.R. 2659, introduced with Rep. David McKinley (R-WV) in May. This effort would authorize the Secretary of Energy to carry out a multiyear, multiphase program of research, development, and technology demonstration to improve the efficiency of gas turbines used in power generation systems with a target of combined cycle efficiency of 67 percent. As of 2017, more than 84 percent of gas turbines were manufactured in the United States.

“Energy efficiency should be our fuel of choice. Advancing research and development to improve gas turbine efficiency will reduce carbon pollution and put America in a position to compete for an even greater share of the global energy market while creating more well-paying manufacturing jobs,” said Tonko.

Both H.R. 3609 and H.R. 3607, which now includes Tonko’s amendment, are expected to move to the floor for consideration and a vote of the full U.S. House of Representatives.

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