Alexander: Bipartisan Energy Bill Affirms Congress’ Commitment to Energy Research

Posted on June 29, 2017

WASHINGTON, June 29, 2017 United States Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said that energy legislation released today in the Senate would re-affirm Congress’ commitment to ARPA-E and energy research and also support the Department of Energy’s plans to build the world’s fastest supercomputers which are essential to our national security and American competitiveness.

The bill released today—the Energy and Natural Resources Act of 2017—includes several provisions supported by Senator Alexander. If passed by the Congress, and signed into law by the President, it would be the first broad energy legislation in nine years.

“The Energy and Natural Resources Act of 2017 will help the United States maintain its brainpower advantage and create an abundance of clean, cheap, reliable energy by re-affirming Congress’ commitment to innovation through energy research. The legislation would put the Department of Energy on a path toward doubling the roughly $5 billion it spends on basic energy research. The legislation also reauthorizes ARPA-E for five years, which has done a tremendous job empowering America's energy researchers with not only funding, but also technical assistance and expertise in bringing concepts to market.”

“The legislation also authorizes the Department of Energy to continue with plans to build the world’s fastest supercomputers, which is essential to national security and American competitiveness and would create good-paying jobs. I commend Senators Lisa Murkowski and Maria Cantwell for reintroducing this important bill.”

Alexander concluded: “The United States faces a choice between falling further behind competitors like China, or advancing technologies that can make us safer and more competitive. I think the best way to lower the cost of energy, clean the air, improve health, increase family incomes, and produce good-paying jobs is to double funding for basic energy research and drive American innovation.”

The bill includes the following provisions from the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2016 that are supported by Sen. Alexander:


Authorizes a 7 percent increase in funding each year for five years for basic energy research and reauthorizes the Department of Energy’s Office of Science. The legislation also reauthorizes ARPA-E, an agency that supports research in energy technology, for five years and authorizes $325 million a year for three years and $375 million a year for two years for the agency.

ExaSCALE Computing

Supports research partnerships between industry, universities and national laboratories to design at least two different types of exascale supercomputers capable of a billion billion calculations per second, which is a thousand-fold increase over the supercomputers in use today.

Vehicle Innovation

Reauthorizes the Vehicle Technologies Office at the Department of Energy, which supports research and development to make vehicles more efficient.

Utility Energy Service Contracts

Allows federal agencies to enter into long-term contracts with utilities to improve energy efficiency, which some day could include small modular reactors.

Quadrennial Energy Review

Requires the president to conduct a review of domestic energy capabilities and needs and establish a government-wide federal energy policy plan to submit to Congress.

Smart Manufacturing

Leverages existing Department of Energy programs and the smart manufacturing infrastructure at national laboratories, including high-performance computing, to assist small and medium manufacturers.

WaterSense Authorization

Codifies an existing, voluntary water efficiency program at the Environmental Protection Agency for water appliances and fixtures, such as faucets.