Murkowski: Energy Technologies Need to be Cost Competitive

“Our economy needs abundant, inexpensive energy to thrive”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today made the following statement on the importance of making sure Americans have access to affordable energy during a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee nomination hearing:

“One of the issues that we continue to struggle with, especially in these difficult economic times, is what the government’s role should be as we transition to the next generation of energy technologies. We hear a lot about the ‘Valley of Death’ for investment.  However, there appear to be multiple ‘valleys of death.’ Is it the government’s responsibility to get businesses through all of them? 

“In EPAct ’05, the loan guarantee program was established to attempt to deal with one ‘valley of death’ toward commercialization of new technologies. It is unfortunate that the stimulus bill subverted the original intent of the loan guarantee program. 

“The original section 1702 and 1703 loan guarantee process has requirements to prevent what happened in the Solyndra case. In the stimulus bill, a new section was added, setting the stage for political convenience to trump wise financial decisions. 

“Solyndra demonstrates that our problems won’t be solved by simply pouring money on them.  All of the loan guarantees and subsidies in the world will eventually be for naught if the technology can’t learn to stand on its own two feet in the marketplace.  That means competing on cost. 

“Our economy needs abundant, inexpensive energy to thrive. ‘Green’ energy is not an end in and of itself.  Creating “green jobs” for their own sake could be counterproductive for the overall economy if the result is increased energy costs.”

Thursday’s hearing was on the nominations of Gregory H. Woods, to be General Counsel at the Department of Energy, David T. Danielson, to be an Assistant Secretary of Energy (Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy) at the Department of Energy, and LaDoris G. Harris, to be Director for the Office of Minority Economic Impact at the Department of Energy.