AEIC’s Norman Augustine Testifies Before Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources

Posted on May 30, 2012

Today, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing on the role of government in energy innovation to discuss the American Energy Innovation Council’s (AEIC) latest report, Catalyzing American Ingenuity: The Role of Government in Energy Innovation.

Witnesses included AEIC Principal Norman Augustine, former Lockheed Martin CEO and former undersecretary of the Army. An excerpt of his testimony is provided below:

“The Council’s second report addressed the limited but important role the federal government will need to play in catalyzing American ingenuity as it seeks to meet the energy demands of the future.

“While most of the current means of energy production are likely to be with us for a long time, each suffers from one or more shortcomings, whether it be cost, pollution, hazardous by-products, safety, limited scalability, or lack of domestic sources.  If these liabilities are to be overcome the nation will need to depend more heavily on innovation; that is, utilize high quality research to create new knowledge, world-class engineering to convert that knowledge into new energy sources and delivery means, and enlightened entrepreneurship to translate those sources and delivery means into the marketplace.  Fortunately, America has excelled in all three of these activities, which together make up innovation—although it should be noted that we are now losing our lead in at least two of these attributes.

“In pursuing this process it is not uncommon to encounter what many innovators refer to as ‘The Valley of Death’—that period where an idea appears promising but has not yet been demonstrably shown to be workable in practice—and therefore is deemed too risky by most investors.  To surmount the latter generally requires some form of convincing proof-of-principle demonstration…which in turn requires financial resources—thus the dilemma.”

Read Augustine’s full testimony in your web browser (Scribd)

Watch the full hearing video (C-SPAN)