Panel Reviews Cost Reductions in Emerging Energy Technologies
Advances Promise to Keep Energy Affordable for American Consumers and Businesses
In what was easily the most anticipated hearing on Capitol Hill this morning, U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, held an oversight hearing to consider cost trends in emerging energy technologies. Committee members heard from a variety of witnesses who detailed cost reductions in everything from oil and natural gas to renewables, energy storage, and alternative fuel vehicles.
Murkowski opened by speaking about the importance of continued innovation in the energy sector, which plays a key role in keeping energy affordable.
“Technological innovation in the energy industry has dramatically expanded our nation’s energy supply and decreased the costs of energy production,” Murkowski said. “Not only have these trends translated into significant cost savings on energy for our families and businesses all across the country, but have also strengthened our national security and future energy supply.”
Murkowski noted that the cost of wind turbines decreased by 27 percent from 2009 to 2015, while the cost to install solar panels decreased by 60 percent over the past decade. The cost of lithium-ion batteries per kilowatt-hour has also dropped by 77 percent since 2010, which has allowed electric and hybrid vehicles to become more cost competitive in the marketplace. The cost of production for U.S. shale operators fell by up to 40 percent over the past two years by cutting costs throughout development and improving production efficiency.
Murkowski also spoke about the unique challenges and opportunities that Alaskans face when looking at solutions to reduce high electricity costs—something she will examine in greater detail at a field hearing in Cordova this weekend.
“The innovation taking place right now is good news for our energy future, particularly so for my home state of Alaska,” Murkowski said. “Alaskans pay far more for electricity than the average U.S. consumer. We have so many communities that are not connected to the main grid. New and more affordable technologies, such as microgrids, offer tremendous promise for us.”
Murkowski also reiterated her commitment to update and modernize the nation’s energy policies. In the last Congress, she and Ranking Member Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., advanced the first broad, bipartisan energy bill to pass the Senate in nearly a decade.
“My hope is that this hearing will both set the stage and serve as a jumping off point, so that we can develop meaningful policy that continues to drive cost reductions and promote affordable energy for the American people,” Murkowski concluded.
Murkowski is chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. An archived video of today’s hearing can be found on the committee’s website. To view Murkowski’s question and answer portion of the hearing, click here.