Bipartisan Senate Innovation Package Takes Useful Steps Towards Smart Climate Policy

EDF statement from Elizabeth Gore, Senior Vice President, Political Affairs

February 27, 2020
Dave Kuntz, (202) 572-3570,

(WASHINGTON, DC - February 27, 2020) “Environmental Defense Fund supports S.2657, the American Energy Innovation Act, introduced by Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Lisa Murkowski and Ranking Member Joe Manchin. Spurring innovation in a wide range of low- and zero-carbon technologies will be a critical component of fighting climate change efficiently while investing in America’s economy.

“At a time of increasing polarization in Washington, bipartisan leadership on climate is all the more crucial, and we applaud the Senators for their initiative on this effort to support clean energy innovation.

“We look forward to working with them as the bill moves forward – as well as with leaders on the House Space, Science and Technology Committee, who are working on a similar package – to improve the bill by giving more weight to renewables, energy efficiency and sustainable transportation technologies like electric vehicles. We think these changes would make the bill even stronger.

“We also look forward to working with Congressional leadership to implement a comprehensive climate package to achieve a 100% clean economy by 2050.”

Key policy issues and considerations in the package

  • EDF strongly supports bipartisan leadership to increase clean energy innovation funding and believes it is critical that such investment support a diverse set of clean energy technologies, including renewable energy, electric vehicles, energy storage, grid modernization technologies, industrial decarbonization technologies, energy efficiency, carbon dioxide removal technologies like direct air capture and the suite of ARPA-E technologies.
  • The bill could be strengthened by taking a more balanced approach to a range of technologies. The potentially long timeline for advanced nuclear and carbon capture technologies and potential limits to where it can be deployed to achieve significant emissions reductions makes it vital that Congress boost funding for a wider range of technologies including renewables, energy storage and energy efficiency – which together have the potential to reduce emissions dramatically in both the near and long terms.
    • The bill authorizes billions of dollars in new funding for nuclear alone, and commits the government to demonstration of four to seven advanced reactors, construction of a dedicated test facility, and production of advanced reactor fuel. Another nearly $5 billion over five years is authorized for coal and natural gas power carbon capture and sequestration.
    • In comparison, funding for renewables remains relatively flat compared to FY2020 appropriations. Wind would receive no new funding authorization, solar would receive $10 million less in authorized funding than was appropriated in FY2020, and geothermal and marine would receive a combined bump of under $400 million over five years.
  • Support for clean energy innovation should be part of a comprehensive package to move the United States to a 100% clean economy no later than mid-century, along with policies that put strong declining enforceable limits and a price on carbon pollution. Such policies will also create and sustain the robust market demand necessary to realize the full potential of the technological innovations that this bill will support.

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