During his State of the Union address earlier this year President Barak Obama called on Congress to create an Energy Security Trust Fund to fund research into biofuels, batteries and more, to help wean the U.S. from its oil habit. On Friday the Administration elaborated on how such a system would work.
“The Energy Security Trust will invest in research that will make future technologies cheaper and better—it will fund the advances that will allow us to run cars and trucks on electricity or homegrown fuels, and on the technology that will enable us to drive from coast-to-coast without a drop of oil,” the Administration said. The 10 year project would create a $2 billion research and innovation fund to invest in a range of technologies like advanced vehicles that run on electricity, homegrown biofuels, and domestically produced natural gas. What’s more is that the funding will come from federal oil and gas development, without adding costs to the federal budget. according to the Administration.
The approach drew praise from the Advanced Energy Economy. “We applaud the president for supporting development of advanced energy technologies,” said AEE CEO Graham Richard. “AEE believes that federal resources should drive innovation and commercialization of new energy technologies rather than subsidize mature technologies. We look forward to working with the Administration and Congress on efforts to stimulate the development of secure, clean and affordable energy sources," he said.
AEE Senior Vice President for Policy and Government Affairs Malcolm Woolf recently testified before Congress about developing such a trust. “New energy technologies face a series of structural market barriers to entry. As such, the federal government needs to continue to play a vital role in supporting new energy technologies, products and services,” he told the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Energy Science, Space and Technology. “Just as the Internet economy transformed society in ways we did not expect, the advanced energy economy is creating dramatic new opportunities for economic growth in the United States and around the world.”
In his testimony, Woolf said the fund must be targeted, limiting federal funds to where innovation is needed; set up to sunset or automatically update when market-based objectives are achieved; provide stability and certainty for businesses and investors; and be technology agnostic, supporting all forms of advanced technology.