Testimony to the Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources on the State of Energy Innovation in America

Introduction

My name is David Hart. I am a professor at the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University, the Commonwealth of Virginia’s largest public university. I also lead the clean energy innovation policy program at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), a non-profit, non-partisan think tank that focuses on accelerating innovation to spur growth, opportunity, and progress. I have published numerous works on energy innovation, including Unlocking Energy Innovation (MIT Press, 2012, co-authored with Richard K. Lester).

Thank you for inviting me to share my views on energy innovation with you today. Your leadership on this topic is vital to our national interests.

Main Points

I will make six points in my testimony.

  1. Rapid innovation across a wide range of energy goods and services is vital to achieve our national goals in the coming decades, including but not limited to economic prosperity and environmental sustainability.
  2. The future economic prosperity of the United States will depend on innovation in energy supply, management, and use.
  3. Energy innovation is vital to arrest global climate change and thereby avoid its worst consequences, which would include substantial damage to our economy.
  4. While failing to stop climate change will have enormous economic consequences, so too will succeeding, unlocking significant opportunities for growth.
  5. All states and regions of the United States have opportunities to participate in and benefit from energy innovation, and they should seize these opportunities.

The federal government can and should do a better job of accelerating energy innovation, including supporting clean-energy-based economic development strategies at the state and regional levels.