Senator Believes Government Should Play a Role in Assisting Private Sector

March 7, 2007
11:34 AM
            WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Pete Domenici, ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, today reiterated his belief that developing new technology was key to warding off threats to our nation’s energy future, including the potential risks of climate change.
            At a hearing to discuss the deployment of advanced energy technology, Domenici said that he believes government should play a significant role in assisting industry to develop cutting-edge technologies that would re-invent the energy sector.
            “Ultimately, it is up to the private sector to build the systems that will ensure our access to clean, reliable and affordable energy.  But the government can, and should, partner with industry to encourage the development and deployment of new energy technologies,” Domenici said.
            The Senator noted that the Energy Policy Act of 2005 was instrumental in spurring private sector investment in energy.  Title 17 of the legislation authorized a major loan guarantee program intended to provide federal backing to projects in areas such as biomass, solar, and clean coal technology.
            Late Monday, the Department of Energy announced that 143 pre-applications for federal loan guarantees have been received as of the end of 2006.  The guarantees requested more than $27 billion in protection for project costs of more than $51 billion.
            “I continue to support DOE’s efforts, and in fact I hope that the Department goes further to implement the loan guarantee program on the scale that was envisioned in the Energy Bill.  In some cases, quick action on the loan guarantee process may make the difference between the United States gaining or losing the lead in commercializing new technologies,” Domenici said.
 In the FY2007 Supplemental Appropriations bill, Congress provided $7 million to operate the DOE Loan Guarantee Office, and the authority to issue guarantees for up to $4 billion in loans.  For FY2008, the Bush Administration has requested $8.4 million to operate the office, with a loan volume limitation of $9 billion.
            The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee today heard testimony from witnesses including Dan Reicher, Director, Energy and Climate Initiatives at Google, Elon Musk, Chairman of Tesla Motors, and Jerome Peters, Senior Vice President of TD Banknorth.