November 23, 2019
America has long been upheld as a land of opportunity, a place where anyone can seek out their own path. As we work to fulfill and even strengthen that legacy, I am struck by one source of seemingly boundless opportunity and prosperity that our competitors are investing in far more, and that America needs to more quickly and fully embrace: clean energy.
Over the last decade, the United States of America has made great progress in researching, developing and deploying clean energy technologies. Nearly 3.3 million Americans work in clean energy and energy efficiency. Solar photovoltaic installer and wind turbine service technician are the two fastest growing jobs in the country. Renewable energy, LED lights, and electric vehicle batteries are more affordable than anyone predicted a decade ago.
These advancements are an incredible accomplishment not only for growing a stronger U.S. economy, they represent one of the most important steps we can take to confront the growing threat of climate change that is already bringing devastating wildfires, floods and other catastrophic climate disasters.
Sadly, decades of coordinated climate change denial, heavily funded by fossil fuel companies, have weighed down American competitiveness and innovation in clean energy. Meanwhile our competitors, including China, are making a major play for global dominance with major investments in renewable energy development, electric vehicle deployment and infrastructure.
It falls to Congress to protect and advance America's prospects for a competitive clean energy future. Despite efforts by this Administration to undermine clean energy policies and slow innovation, my colleagues in the House and I have worked to ensure that our country does not fall any further behind the rest of the world in building a 21st century energy system.
Setting a target for clean energy advances is important, in part because we also need to invest in research and development to continue to improve the performance and reduce the costs of clean energy technologies. That has been one of my top priorities while serving on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, among others.
In July 2019, I introduced H.R. 3609, the Wind Energy Research and Development Act, with my Republican colleague Don Bacon of Nebraska. This bipartisan legislation would give formal authorization to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Wind Energy to improve the efficiency, reliability and capacity of wind energy generation.
I am also proud to support H.R. 4091, the ARPA-E Reauthorization Act of 2019, which would provide more funding for this cutting-edge research program. ARPA-E invests in high-potential, high-impact energy technologies that are deemed too early or risky for the private sector. This is the important role that public investment can play in advancing energy innovation.
These are just two examples of legislation to promote the clean energy revolution being advanced by the people's House. I am happy to report that these bills, along with others to support solar energy and advanced manufacturing, were passed by the Committee in July. I hope this legislation will be brought for a vote before the full U.S. House of Representatives soon.
We have much work before us to ensure the next generation of clean energy technologies is researched, designed, and manufactured here in the United States and then exported around the world. By investing in the development of these technologies, our country can again become the global leader and innovator in the energy sector. For the future of our economy and for our environment, we must embrace this necessary transition to clean energy.
As always, thank you for reading.