Ideas. Action. Results.

Public Statement Before the U.S. Department of Energy, Secretary of Energy Advisory Board

By Addison Stark

Friday, March 8, 2019

My name is Addison Killean Stark. I serve as Associate Director for Energy Innovation at the Bipartisan Policy Center. In this role I have the privilege of convening the American Energy Innovation Council (AEIC), which is a group of corporate leaders who share a common concern over America’s commitment to energy innovation. I am happy to see that AEIC co-chair, Norm Augustine, has been asked and agreed to serve on this advisory board.

The AEIC was formed around a shared understanding that robust federal investments in energy innovation are crucial to America’s national security, international competitiveness and long-term economic stability. Further, we at the BPC believe that energy innovation supported by the Department of Energy (DOE) will play a critical role in bridging our national economic and environmental policy goals.

R&D supported by the DOE runs the gamut from experimental and theoretical exploration of fundamental particles to investments by ARPA-E in start-ups trying to develop and commercialize advanced energy technologies. The role that DOE plays in today’s innovation economy cannot be overstated. Today I would like to use my time to offer a suggestion to the Secretary and this board to explore every avenue possible for DOE to support the development of five critical categories of energy technology:

  1. Advanced energy storage, including long-duration electricity storage and thermal storage for
    industrial applications;
  2. Advanced nuclear power, including advanced modular fission and magneto-inertial fusion technologies such as those supported by ARPA-E’s ALPHA program;
  3. Carbon capture, utilization and storage for coal, natural gas and industrial sources;
  4. Low-carbon transportation fuels for air, ground and sea such as hydrogen and electrification; and
  5. Direct Air Capture technologies that remove carbon dioxide from the ambient air.

Further, I would suggest that this board work with the Secretary to identify ways that the DOE can increase support, through public-private partnerships, of grid- and industrial-scale technology demonstrations of the above technologies. The federal government must play an increased role in supporting applied research, development and demonstration to fully take advantage of the promised economic benefits, otherwise we run the risk of ceding the commercialization of our discoveries to global competitors.

Thank you for your time. The Secretary of Energy Advisory Board plays a critical role in helping the Secretary in making strategic decisions for the future of DOE’s R&D efforts, and we applaud its continued thought leadership. The BPC and AEIC are ready to assist in any way that we can.