Murkowski, Gates Highlight Importance of Energy Innovation

Discuss Opportunities to Advance Policies, Technologies With Group of Republican Senators

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today convened a meeting with Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft, philanthropist, and investor, to discuss the importance of energy innovation. The two were joined by Sens. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., Susan Collins, R-Maine, Mark Kirk, R-Ill., and Rob Portman, R-Ohio.

Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Lisa Murkowski meets with Mr. Bill Gates

“Mr. Gates has both the stature and the vision to explain why energy innovation must be more of a national priority, and we all stand to benefit from his strong personal commitment to this issue,” Murkowski said. “I’ve seen the value of innovation throughout Alaska – where new energy systems are cutting energy costs, providing more reliable power, and improving the lives of our people. I’m proud of the measures the energy committee has already reported to support energy innovation – and as I told Mr. Gates today, this will remain a focal point of my efforts to modernize our nation’s energy policies.”

“By creating the right environment for clean energy innovation, we can accelerate the pace of progress, develop and deploy new solutions, and eventually provide everyone with reliable, affordable energy that is carbon free. I am encouraged by the work of Chairman Murkowski and her colleagues to promote innovation by supporting clean energy R&D which I believe is essential to human progress,” Gates said.

In late July, Gates published a piece entitled We Need Clean-Energy Innovation and Lots of It, in which he pledged to invest $1 billion in clean energy technology over the next five years. Gates also urged government leaders around the world to double funding for clean energy innovation over the same timeframe.

Mr. Gates meets with Sens. Murkowski, Ayotte, Portman, Collins, and Kirk

The very next day, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, led by Chairman Murkowski, advanced broad energy legislation through a bipartisan vote of 18-4.  Her bill – S. 2012, the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2015 – would prioritize energy innovation through a number of provisions focused on the research, development, and deployment of new energy technologies. The bill would reauthorize key parts of the America COMPETES Act and boost everything from hydropower to microgrids.