On September 28th, the White House signed three energy-related bills into law. H.R. 589, H.R. 1109, and S. 97 are aimed at improving various functions in our nation’s energy sector. The bills hopefully signal Washington’s desire to maintain a focus on optimizing our grid.
The bills will drive technological innovation in nuclear energy; expand the coordination between the Department of Energy’s research and development installations; and increase the FERC’s threshold for reviewing mergers and acquisitions.
These bills come at a time when our nation is gearing up to tackle the next generation of energy technology, and we hope that they represent a genuine effort from the public sector to support the increased adoption of new options in our nation’s energy markets.
H.R. 589, the Department of Energy Research and Innovation Act, establishes new policy that will govern the DoE’s science and energy research and development programs, and it will also oversee the modernization of our national laboratory system.
The bill aims to increase information sharing between the labs by reforming the National Laboratory management and technology transfer programs. That could spell good news for energy innovation, as labs across the country will have better access to information and technology.
S. 97, the Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act, is an update to the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The bill targets the Department of Energy’s civilian nuclear energy research, development, demonstration (RD&D), and commercial application programs.
Under the bill, partnerships between the DoE and private companies will be encouraged to develop new technologies in nuclear energy. These types of partnerships could lead to substantial energy generation benefits for everyday consumers. Advanced nuclear technology has great potential to shift our grid further away from more traditional energy sources like fossil fuels.
The Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act drew bipartisan support, and U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) commented on the bill’s importance to increasing our nation’s nuclear power capabilities.
“Nuclear power is an essential part of our nation’s electricity supply, providing clean, safe, efficient, and reliable power to American families and businesses,” Murkowski said. “At a time when our nuclear power capabilities have been slipping, this bill — soon to be law — will help the United States reestablish itself as a world leader in nuclear energy innovation.”
The signing of these bills into law signals a renewed emphasis on developing innovative energy technology that can compete on the world stage. We’re glad to see our public sector focusing on building out an energy infrastructure that could lead to more jobs and better energy saving for consumers.