Prepared Remarks of Senator Domenici on the Hearing to Investigate Market Constraints on Advanced Energy Technologies

March 7, 2007
03:02 PM
Washington, D.C. – The Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee today held an hearing to investigate market constraints on large investments in advanced energy technologies and investigate ways to stimulate additional private-sector investment in the deployment of these technologies.
Below is the prepared text of Senator Domenici’s statement:

“Let me begin by thanking our distinguished panel of witnesses for being with us today.  All of you are involved in an important area for our nation’s future – helping to make it possible for new energy technologies to make their way from the drawing board to the real world. 
“Our nation faces important challenges that we will need new energy technologies to address.  Our reliance on imported oil and increasingly liquefied natural gas is a detriment to our national security.  And concerns about the potential risks of climate change are driving us to promote innovative technologies that do not contribute greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. 
“I believe one of the most significant contributions of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 was authorizing the Secretary of Energy to issue loan guarantees for investments in innovative energy technologies. 
“I was pleased by the Department’s announcement yesterday that it has received 143 pre-applications for loan guarantees.  This is real  evidence that there is significant private-sector interest in bringing cutting-edge technologies to market to re-invent our energy sector.
“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. 
“I noted an example of this last week when we reviewed the EIA’s annual energy outlook, but it bears repeating here.  There is a company currently planning to build the world’s first commercial cellulosic ethanol plant in Idaho, That has submitted a pre-application under the loan guarantee program.  If the Department of Energy delays too long in its process of awarding loan guarantees, this potential capital investment in cellulosic ethanol will almost certainly be deployed elsewhere in the world first.
“I also believe it is important to promote cleaner coal and advanced nuclear technologies.  These are the bedrock of our power generation system.  I noted that none of the witnesses discuss these technologies in their written testimony.  I hope that we might have a discussion on financial incentives for nuclear and clean coal technologies at another time.
“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. I look forward to hearing from today’s witness how we can best accomplish this task.”