Bill would establish energy tech nonprofit

Source: Sam Mintz, E&E News reporter • Posted: Thursday, December 21, 2017

A bipartisan group of lawmakers is planning to put forward legislation today that would direct the secretary of Energy to create a nonprofit organization designed to support the development of energy technology.

The bill, which is being introduced by Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) in the Senate, would establish a nonprofit called the Impact for Energy Foundation.

It would be similar to organizations created by agencies like the National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Department of Agriculture.

According to Coons’ office, the bill would “channel private-sector investments that support the creation, development and commercialization of innovative technologies that address tomorrow’s energy challenges.”

The 501(c)(3) would be able to engage with private-sector investors and facilitate public-private partnerships, as well as potentially set up prize competitions. It could also organize events, briefings or symposiums and issue awards, grants or fellowships to researchers.

“Unlike other sectors, the energy sector has several unique challenges to innovation including requiring high capital needs, having long development times, overcoming incumbent technologies, and operating within a shifting regulatory environment,” Coons’ office wrote.

“Addressing these challenges will require partnerships with government, industry, startups, and funding organizations. A foundation would serve as the ideal framework to organize, connect, and lead such a diverse group of partners.”

The bill notes that the foundation would not be an “agency or instrumentality of the federal government.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) is co-sponsoring the legislation in the Senate. A companion House bill will be introduced by Reps. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) and Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.).