ITIF Applauds Comprehensive CLEAN Future Act While Urging Further Steps to Accelerate Clean Energy Innovation

January 8, 2020

WASHINGTON—Following Wednesday’s release of a framework for comprehensive climate legislation by the leadership of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), the leading think tank for science and technology policy, released the following statement from ITIF Senior Fellow David Hart:

The CLEAN Future Act unveiled today by Chairmen Pallone, Tonko, and Rush is a laudable proposal. By setting the bold goal of transitioning the United States to net-zero emissions by 2050, the bill would reestablish federal leadership in climate policy and complement ongoing state, local, and private efforts with a much-needed comprehensive approach to all sources of emissions within the Energy and Commerce Committee’s jurisdiction. We welcome this effort and call on Congress to continue building on it by taking further steps to accelerate clean energy innovation.

Further and faster innovation is essential, because existing clean energy technologies don’t yet perform well enough, nor are they affordable enough, to achieve net-zero emissions globally. Many aspects of clean energy innovation policy lie outside the Energy and Commerce Committee’s jurisdiction, but there are important steps that could be incorporated into the CLEAN Future Act. One would be to establish emerging technology carve-outs in the proposed Clean Electricity Standard. Another would be to create a new Office of Major Demonstrations within the Department of Energy.

Writing in ITIF’s Innovation Files blog, Hart and ITIF Senior Policy Analyst Rob Rozansky explained:

Key innovation needs for electric power include generation and storage resources that can compensate for variations in the output of wind and solar systems, improved transmission and distribution, and digital systems to coordinate the diverse sources and loads that will make up the grid of the future. Technology carve-outs within the proposed Clean Electricity Standard can help accelerate innovation in these areas.

Hart and Rozansky continued:

Smart grids, advanced nuclear reactors, and next-generation carbon capture and storage systems are among the many technologies that may one day enable deep emissions reductions but have yet to be demonstrated at commercial scale in real-world conditions… The creation of a new Office of Major Demonstrations within the Department of Energy, separate from the technology-specific applied energy offices, would help the United States rebuild a robust portfolio of clean energy demonstration projects and accelerate the entry of new clean energy technologies to the commercial market.

Read Hart and Rozansky’s blog post.