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Lawmakers Introduce Bipartisan DOE Foundation Bill to Stimulate Innovation and the STEM Economy

To ensure that research and technology development carried out by our National Laboratories and other programs stimulates cutting-edge innovation and local economic development, U.S. Representative Melanie Stansbury (N.M.-01-D), the newest member of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, introduced the Partnerships for Energy Security and Innovation Act (H.R. 4863) with Rep. Young Kim (Calif.-39-R) and Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (Texas-03-D), Ranking Member Frank Lucas (Okla.-03-R), Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (Ohio-16-R), and Rep. Teresa Leger Fernández (N.M.-03-D). 

The bill would create a nonprofit foundation for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) that channels research and innovation to higher education institutions and private sector partners in alignment with DOE’s mission. The foundation’s mission would also focus on bringing energy innovations to markets serving rural and underserved communities. The foundation would build on previously successful models of public-private partnerships to facilitate the commercialization of technologies like next-generation materials and high-efficiency batteries.   

“Our National Laboratories generate billions of dollars for our local economies and are cornerstones in our communities. But, our Labs hold the potential to foster even more economic activity and help tackle some of our nation’s and communities’ biggest challenges by fostering innovation, technology transfer, and bringing this science and technology to market,” said Representative Stansbury, member of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. “I am proud to introduce this bipartisan bill to support growing our STEM economy in New Mexico and across the nation, and I am grateful to work with Chairwoman Johnson, Ranking Member Lucas, and Representatives Young Kim, Gonzalez, and Leger Fernández for helping me bring this issue forward.” 

“Securing continued U.S. energy independence requires unleashing American innovation and public-private collaboration to address energy and environmental challenges,” said Representative Young Kim. “The Partnerships for Energy Security and Innovation Act will help provide exactly that by directing the Department of Energy to establish a foundation to foster public-private partnerships, deploy smart energy technologies and provide workforce development opportunities. I’m proud to work with Rep Stansbury, Ranking Member Lucas, Chairwoman Johnson, Reps. Gonzalez and Leger Fernández on this important, bipartisan initiative.”

“To better combat climate change and compete in the global clean energy economy, we must explore new mechanisms to rapidly transition energy technologies from lab to market,” said Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX). “The Partnerships for Energy Security and Innovation Act will establish a nonprofit corporation affiliated with the Department of Energy that will serve a unique role in addressing this need. This new entity will reinforce and advance the Department’s mission by leveraging public-private partnerships to supplement Department-supported R&D with private sector funding, better facilitate commercialization of energy technologies, contribute to energy workforce development, and enable better sharing of best practices between the National Labs and their partners in industry and academia. I am grateful to see this bill introduced with such strong bipartisan support and I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to pass this important measure.” 

“I’m proud to cosponsor this bipartisan bill, which enhances the public-private partnerships that make the American R&D enterprise the best in the world,” said Ranking Member Frank Lucas. “This bill maximizes the value of research and development activities at DOE by generating investment from the private sector and other stakeholders in energy technology development and commercialization efforts. By complementing the Department of Energy’s resources and expertise with engagement from the private sector, we’ll be able to better translate groundbreaking discoveries from our basic research into innovative new technologies. This is critical to our clean energy future, and it builds on the work we did in the Energy Act of 2020 and the DOE Science for the Future Act. I look forward to getting this passed into law.”  

“America’s innovation engine is what separates us from the rest of the world,” Representative Anthony Gonzalez said. “Helping leverage private investment to accelerate the development of next-generation technologies that will grow our economy and support good-paying jobs is a no-brainer. I am proud to work with my colleagues on this important effort.”

“Los Alamos, Sandia and our other national labs have the tools to develop long-duration batteries and enable green hydrogen – and much more. We need to spin off business from the labs into New Mexico if we are to become an innovation hub. Our national labs will be key as we combat the climate crisis and maintain U.S. competitiveness in the 21st century,” said Representative Teresa Leger Fernández. “This bill will help overcome barriers in translating innovative clean energy technologies from the lab to the market.”

The full text of the Partnerships for Energy Security Act is HERE. A summary of the bill is HERE.

The legislation is modeled from nonprofit foundations that have successfully leveraged billions of dollars in research and innovation by the National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the U.S Department of Agriculture. The foundation will prioritize partnerships with institutions like Hispanic-serving institutions, historically Black colleges and universities, Tribal colleges and universities, and minority-serving institutions. The bill is similar to an amendment in the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act (USIA) and builds on legislation that now-U.S. Senator Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) introduced in the House of Representatives last Congress. 

The foundation established by the Partnerships for Energy Security and Innovation Act would reinforce and advance DOE’s mission by:

  • Supplementing DOE-supported research and development with private sector funding;
  • Facilitating the commercialization of energy technologies;
  • Contributing to energy workforce development; and
  • Enabling information exchange and sharing best practices.

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