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Tracking Legislation That Will Advance Clean Energy Innovation Solutions in the 116th Congress

To increase economic growth, create more reliable and affordable energy, and develop climate solutions, the United States needs breakthrough innovation and massive scaling of low-, zero-, and negative-emission technologies over the next 30 years. The Bipartisan Policy Center is tracking bipartisan legislation introduced in the 116th Congress that could advance U.S. clean energy solutions and reduce carbon emissions. Each bill outlined below represents a robust opportunity for continued U.S. leadership in energy innovation and emissions reduction technologies and processes.

Note: This blog post will be updated as new legislation is introduced.

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Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage

Carbon capture and storage technology is essential for tackling environmental challenges and successfully meeting climate goals.

Utilizing Significant Emissions with Innovative Technologies Act (USE IT Act), S. 383 and H.R. 1166

The USE IT Act (S. 383 and H.R. 1166) aims to further the development and innovation of carbon utilization and direct air capture technologies and processes. The bill would provide support for carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) and direct air capture (DAC) research and would also aid in permitting for CCUS and DAC projects and carbon dioxide pipelines. It would ensure the U.S. conducts crucial research and builds out the necessary infrastructure to realize the economic benefits of reducing carbon pollution.

  • Key Dates
    • Introduced in Senate (02/07/2019)
    • Introduced in House (02/13/2019)
  • Lead Sponsors
    • John Barrasso (R-WY) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)
    • Scott Peters (D-CA), David McKinley (R-WV)
  • Statement from BPC Action

Enhancing Fossil Fuel Energy Carbon Technology Act (EFFECT Act), S. 1201

The EFFECT Act amends the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and alter the focus of federal fossil energy research to promote the development and demonstration of cleaner coal and natural gas technologies. The bill supports the advancement of carbon capture, utilization, and storage projects by proposing funding increases for carbon utilization and advanced energy systems research. Such research will be crucial for advancing carbon capture, utilization, and storage projects that can reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

  • Key Dates
    • Introduced in Senate (04/11/2019)
  • Lead Sponsors
    • Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
  • Statement from BPC Action

Launching Energy Advancement and Development through Innovation for Natural Gas (LEADING) Act, S. 1685

The LEADING Act requires the Department of Energy (DOE) to establish a program to develop cost-effective carbon capture technologies that can be used at natural gas-generating power facilities. The aim is to incentivize research and innovation to accelerate the development and commercialization of natural gas carbon capture technologies. The bill will also require DOE to solicit applications for demonstration projects of such technologies.

  • Key Dates
    • Introduced in Senate (5/23/2019)
  • Lead Sponsors
    • John Cornyn (R-TX), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Christopher Coons (D-DE), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ)
  • Statement from BPC Action

Launching Energy Advancement and Development through Innovation for Natural Gas (LEADING) Act, S. 1685

The LEADING Act requires the Department of Energy (DOE) to establish a program to develop cost-effective carbon capture technologies that can be used at natural gas-generating power facilities. The aim is to incentivize research and innovation to accelerate the development and commercialization of natural gas carbon capture technologies. The bill will also require DOE to solicit applications for demonstration projects of such technologies.

  • Key Dates
    • Introduced in Senate (5/23/2019)
  • Lead Sponsors
    • John Cornyn (R-TX), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Christopher Coons (D-DE), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ)
  • Statement from BPC Action

Securing Energy for our Armed Forces Using Engineering Leadership (SEA FUEL) Act of 2019, S.1679 and H.R. 3227

The SEA FUEL Act (S.1679 and H.R. 3227) requires the Department of Defense to develop a two-phased research, development, demonstration and subsequent testing program for direct air capture and blue carbon removal technologies. The aim is to signal the critical nature of these technologies and advance their development, while also spurring the innovative capabilities and self-sufficiency of the United States military. The research program could provide the U.S. military with the means to synthesize fuels at any location, including forward operating bases. The Department of Defense is particularly well-placed to develop such nascent carbon removal technologies, with its long-standing involvement in the advancement of platform and novel technologies. The SEA FUEL Act signals the crucial role the U.S. military occupies in energy innovation and the tremendous potential impact of carbon removal technologies.

  • Key Dates
    • Introduced in Senate (5/23/2019)
    • Introduced in Senate (6/12/2019)
  • Lead Sponsors
    • Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Jack Reed (D-RI), and Dan Sullivan (R-AK)
    • Reps. Don Beyer (D-VA), Anthony G. Brown (D-MD), and David Schweikert (R-AZ)
  • Statement from BPC Action

Fossil Energy Research & Development (FE R&D) Act of 2019, H.R. 3607

The FE R&D Act (H.R. 3607) is meant to improve the efficiency and environmental profile of fossil energy systems, particularly coal and natural gas. The legislation directs the Secretary of Energy to establish objectives for a coal and natural gas technology program that consider performance, reliability, efficiency, carbon dioxide emissions, dispatchable capabilities, and the incorporation of carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration technologies. The FE R&D Act also provides specific research, development, and demonstration support for each aspect of carbon capture, storage, and utilization to ensure increased data sharing, technical improvements, and thus cost reduction and greater overall innovation.

  • Key Dates
    • Introduced in House (07/02/2019)
  • Lead Sponsors
    • House Science Committee Chair Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) and Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ)
  • Statement from BPC Action

Efficiency

As global energy and water demand continues to increase, federal leadership in the implementation of energy and water efficiency improvements and support for resource efficiency research and development at DOE are crucial.

Energy and Water Research Integration Act of 2019, H.R. 34

The Energy and Water Research Integration Act ensures the integration of water considerations into DOE energy research, development, and demonstration projects. The legislation aims to advance energy and energy efficiency technologies and practices that minimize freshwater withdrawal and consumption, increase water use efficiency, and use nontraditional water sources. As droughts and extreme weather events become more frequent, decoupling water consumption from electricity production will be integral to the United States’ transition to a low-carbon energy future.

  • Key Dates
    • Introduced in House (01/03/2019)
  • Lead Sponsors
    • House Science Committee Chair Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) and Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ)
  • Statement from BPC Action

Energy Savings through Public-Private Partnerships Act of 2019, S. 1706 and H.R. 3079

The Energy Savings through Public-Private Partnerships Act (S. 1706 and H.R. 3079) amends the National Energy Conservation Policy Act to spur greater use of energy and water efficiency performance contracting in federal facilities. The bill directs the federal government to use Energy Savings Performance Contracts (ESPCs) and Utility Energy Savings Contracts (UESCs) to increase the energy and water efficiency of federal facilities. The legislation provides an important marker for the importance of efficiency improvements as a cost-effective way to reduce the federal government’s energy and water use blueprint. By calling on the use of ESPCs and UESCs, the bill also draws on the private sector’s strong capabilities to realize these efficiency gains.

  • Key Dates
    • Introduced in Senate (06/04/2019)
    • Introduced in House (06/04/2019)
  • Lead Sponsors
    • Sens. Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Christopher Coons (D-DE)
    • Reps. Peter Welch (D-VT) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL)
  • Statement from BPC Action

Federal Energy and Water Management Performance Act, S. 1857

The Federal Energy and Water Management Performance Act (S. 1857) aims to improve the energy and water efficiency of the federal government by establishing the Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP). The FEMP will be responsible for realizing the specific energy and water efficiency objectives outlined in the legislation. To meet these objectives within the required timeframes, FEMP will provide federal policy coordination, technical assistance, best practices for utility contracts, and develop efficiency data reporting methods and procedures.

  • Key Dates
    • Introduced in Senate (06/14/2019)
  • Lead Sponsors
    • Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Joe Manchin (D-WV)
  • Statement from BPC Action

Energy Storage

Energy storage technologies can help ensure the reliability of the grid and complement the rapidly increasing proportion of variable clean energy resources.

Better Energy Storage Technology (BEST) Act, S. 1602 and H.R. 2986

The BEST Act (S. 1602 and H.R. 2986) amends the Energy Storage Competitiveness Act of 2007 to create a research, development, and demonstration program for grid-scale energy storage systems. Greater incorporation of efficient grid-scale storage technologies reduces the need to build out new generation capacity, transmission, and distribution infrastructure. Energy storage is also a crucial complement to low- and zero-carbon technologies. Increased federal support for energy storage technologies will help reduce the costs and risks of grid-scale projects and advance American manufacturing and innovation.

  • Key Dates
    • Introduced in Senate (05/22/2019)
    • Introduced in House (05/23/2019)
  • Lead Sponsors
    • Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Martin Heinrich (D-NM)
    • Reps. Bill Foster (D-IL) and Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA)
  • Statement from BPC Action

Finance & Tax Incentives

The U.S. needs forward-thinking tax policies that incentivize and keep pace with clean energy technology innovation.

Financing Our Energy Future Act, S. 1841 and H.R. 3249

A Master Limited Partnership (MLP) (S. 1841 and H.R. 3249) is taxed as a partnership but ownership interests are traded like corporate stock on a market. Furthermore, income from MLPs is taxed only at the shareholder level. Thus, the MLP structure is highly attractive to investors. Currently, a Master Limited Partnership must generate at least 90% of its income from qualified resources. The MLP Bill would expand the definition of “qualified” to include clean energy resources and infrastructure projects. The bill would provide a strong tax incentive for the private sector to invest in clean energy projects, which is crucial for the United States to meet stricter climate goals.

  • Key Dates
    • Introduced in Senate (06/13/2019)
    • Introduced in House (06/13/2019)
  • Lead Sponsors
    • Sens. Christopher Coons (D-DE) and Jerry Moran (R-KS)
    • Reps. Mike Thompson (D-CA) and Ron Estes (R-KS)

Innovation Ecosystem

With increasing international competition, the United States must continuously reevaluate and improve upon its innovation ecosystem.

Increasing and Mobilizing Partnerships to Achieve Commercialization of Technologies (IMPACT) for Energy Act, S. 2005 and H.R. 3575

The IMPACT for Energy Act (S. 2005 and H.R. 3575) directs the Secretary of Energy to establish a nonprofit corporation, the IMPACT for Energy Foundation, in order to channel private sector investments towards efforts to create, develop, and commercialize innovative and transformative energy technologies. The Foundation will not be a federal agency, and its Board of Directors will be comprised of diverse stakeholders, such as individuals from academia, the private sector, nonprofits, local communities, and the technology transfer and commercialization community. The Foundation is meant to foster collaboration and research partnerships among the federal government, state governments, institutions of higher education, federally-funded research and development centers, industry, nonprofits, etc. The Foundation is able to support studies, competitions, projects, and any other necessary projects to spur collaboration and energy innovation.

  • Key Dates
    • Introduced in Senate (06/27/2019)
    • Introduced in House (06/27/2019)
  • Lead Sponsors
    • Sens. Christopher Coons (D-DE) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
    • Reps. Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM) and Joe Wilson (R-SC)

Nuclear

Advanced nuclear is essential for the decarbonization of the electricity sector because of its zero carbon emissions and low life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions.

Nuclear Energy Leadership Act (NELA), S.903

NELA intends to further U.S. innovation in nuclear energy technology. The bill provides for the continued development and deployment of advanced reactor designs, a university nuclear leadership program, as well as a long-term strategy for federal nuclear energy research. Furthermore, NELA establishes domestic nuclear fuel supply chains and infrastructure that are essential to America’s long-term energy security and global leadership.

  • Key Dates
    • Introduced in Senate (03/27/2019)
    • Introduced in House (6/18/2019)
  • Lead Sponsors
    • Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Cory Booker (D-NJ)
    • Elaine Luria (D-VA) and Denver Riggleman (R-VA)
  • Statement from BPC Action

Renewable Energy

The continued development and build out of renewable energy technologies, such as solar, wind, and many others, in concert with other clean energy technologies, is crucial for the decarbonization of the U.S. electricity grid.

Solar Energy Research & Development Act of 2019, H.R. 3597

Solar Energy Research & Development Act of 2019 directs the Secretary of Energy to carry out a solar energy research, development, testing, evaluation, and demonstration program, with a particular focus on improving energy efficiency, reliability, security, and capacity; optimizing design and adaptability; reducing the manufacturing, installation, operation, and maintenance costs; improving the conversion of solar energy to useful forms. Technical areas of focus include solar photovoltaics, concentrated solar power, low-cost and high-quality solar energy system designs, solar heating and cooling systems, solar technology products that be easily integrate into different environments or structures, more resilient solar technology, and solar and storage technology pairings, among many others. The bill also establishes mechanisms for technical assistance and workforce development. The Solar Energy Research & Development Act includes directions to implement a manufacturing initiative and a photovoltaic device recycling research, development, and demonstration program.

  • Key Dates
    • Introduced in House (6/28/2019)
  • Lead Sponsors
    • Reps. Ben McAdams (D-UT) and Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE)
  • Statement from BPC Action

Wind Energy Research & Development Act of 2019, H.R. 3609

Wind Energy Research & Development Act of 2019 requires the Secretary of Energy to carry out a wind energy research, development, testing, evaluation, and demonstration program to improve the energy efficiency, reliability, security, and capacity of wind energy generation; optimize the design and control of wind energy systems; reduce the cost and risk of permitting, construction, operation, and maintenance of wind energy systems; improve the materials, engineering, and manufacturing processes for turbines; and optimize wind plant performance and integration within hybrid energy systems. Technical areas of focus include wind power plant performance and operations, new materials and designs, as well as offshore wind projects. Grants are available to ensure these projects advance. The bill also establishes a “Facility for Hybrid Energy System Research and Demonstration Projects.” The Wind Energy Research & Development Act also provides support for wind energy incubators, as well as grants to determine how to reduce regulatory and market barriers.

  • Key Dates
    • Introduced in House (7/02/2019)
  • Lead Sponsors
    • Reps. Paul Tonko (D-NY) and Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE)
  • Statement from BPC Action

Transportation

Emissions reduction in the transportation sector through mobility innovation is another necessary step to improve the overall greenhouse gas emissions profile of the United States.

Driving America Forward Act, H.R. 2256 and S. 993

The Electric CARS Act of 2019 (H.R. 2042 and S. 993) amends the Internal Revenue Code to expand the tax credit for both new plug-in electric vehicles and fuel cell vehicles. Under current law, consumers may receive a tax credit of $7,500 if they purchase an eligible vehicle; however, the tax credits phase out permanently once automakers sell over 200,000 vehicles. The Driving America Forward Act would raise the cap to 600,000 vehicles, giving more consumers the chance to take advantage of the tax credit. The bill would also extend the hydrogen fuel cell credit through 2028.

  • Key Dates
    • Introduced in House (4/09/2019)
    • Introduced in Senate (4/10/2019)
  • Lead Sponsors
    • Dan Kildee (D-MI)
    • Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN)

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