BPC President Jason Grumet testifies before the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources regarding the status and outlook of energy innovation in the United States.
*Testimony begins at 57:17
Chairman Murkowski, Ranking Member Manchin, and members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to join this critical discussion on the key role of innovation in our energy and economic future.
My testimony will focus on the imperative to raise our nation’s ambition and commitment to energy innovation, and how this Committee can help overcome political obstacles to ensure an effective innovation agenda.
Propelling Economic Growth
Innovation is the core of America’s economic strength and future prosperity. Indeed, at least 50 percent of the nation’s annual GDP growth can be traced to increases in innovation. While our nation must substantially increase its commitment and ambition to energy innovation, we have a sound foundation to build upon. Much of the energy abundance we enjoy today can be traced to our nation’s unparalleled research and development (R&D) infrastructure. Today’s shale gas boom can trace its history to industry-led research and demonstration initiatives funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), such as seismic mapping, horizontal drilling, and advanced drill bit technology developed during the 1970s. R&D carried out at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has enabled wind and solar energy production to quadruple over the past decade while costs for these technologies have been cut nearly in half. Building on basic and applied atomic research conducted during the Manhattan Project, the U.S. government began developing peaceful applications of nuclear technology following the end of World War II. The federal government built the first nuclear reactor in the 1950s before transferring the commercial development of the technology to the private sector—and in doing so laid the bedrock for the modern nuclear energy industry, which contributed $60 billion to U.S. GDP in 2015 and today supplies one-fifth of U.S. electricity and nearly three-fifths of America’s carbon-free electricity.