AEIC’s Letter to Members of Congress on Restoring American Energy Innovation Leadership

AEIC members Norm Augustine, John Doerr, Bill Gates, Chad Holliday, Jeffrey Immelt, and Tom Linebarger sent the following letter today to members of Congress.

FEBRUARY 24, 2015
WASHINGTON, DC

The Honorable Mitch McConnell
Senate Majority Leader
S-230 U.S. Capitol
Washington, DC 20510
The Honorable John Boehner
Speaker of the House of Representatives
H-232 U.S. Capitol
Washington, DC 20515
The Honorable Harry Reid
Senate Minority Leader
S-221 U.S. Capitol
Washington, DC 20510
The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
House Minority Leader
H-204 U.S. Capitol
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Speaker Boehner and Leaders McConnell, Reid and Pelosi:

We write today to urge your review and consideration of the American Energy Innovation Council’s enclosed report, “Restoring American Energy Innovation Leadership: Report Card, Challenges, and Opportunities.”

We are issuing this report as part of our service on the American Energy Innovation Council (www.americanenergyinnovation.org). AEIC is a coalition of business leaders who joined together in 2010 because of our concerned about America’s underinvestment in clean energy research.

That America is today enjoying a respite from the days of energy scarcity can be attributed in part to federally-funded technology research, development and demonstration (RD&D) that occurred many years ago. Those investments supported vital private sector entrepreneurs and created dozens of technologies, such as those used in shale gas production today. These technologies have been important to our economic growth and competiveness. We urge you to review the case studies available on our website.

Unfortunately, if recent trends continue, future entrepreneurs will not have the benefit of such robust public investments in RD&D. Since 2010, support for government energy RD&D has languished with appropriations remaining depressed when adjusted for inflation. While we understand the need to address our national debt, investing in innovation is an investment in future economic growth.

Even amid today’s abundance, America’s energy challenges are more critical than ever. Energy costs are too high for many households and businesses; environmental concerns related to energy production continue to grow; and our electricity system faces physical and cyber threats. Geopolitical threats like climate change, global energy market volatility, and international competition for energy resources are increasingly ominous.

The fundamental finding of our report is this: the scale of federal energy RD&D investment is still just a fraction of what is necessary. The United States must commit to greater – and smarter – investments in energy technology now to capture its remarkable energy promise and deal with the pressing competitiveness, security, and environmental challenges.

We hope that you find this report useful. It is available at: http://bpcaeic.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/AEIC-Restoring-American-Energy-Innovation-Leadership-2015.pdf.