WASHINGTON — Today, IER Policy Director Kenny Stein will testify before the Energy Subcommittee of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee on the topic of solar and wind energy technologies. The hearing titled “Advancing the Next Generation of Solar and Wind Energy Technologies” will discuss the federal government’s involvement in solar and wind energy research. The hearing will begin at 10am EST.
Below is an executive summary from Stein’s testimony:———————————————————————————————————————
“Both the wind and solar industries are mature industries, with plenty of private sector interest and investment in innovation and deployment. We are not talking about a nascent or speculative industry. The need for federal funding at all is debatable to put it mildly. If federal money is still required at this point the question must be asked whether there is ever a point where enough will be enough.
Given the already high rate of wind and solar investment, it is hard to see how more federal intervention could possibly be beneficial. In fact, a heavier federal hand could end up limiting growth and innovation. The federal government, slow and process-constrained as it is, cannot adjust rapidly to technological developments. As new operating processes or products enter the market, it can be left funding old or obsolete initiatives. Indeed federal interference of the sort envisioned by these discussion drafts can lead an industry to spend its time trying to meet federal benchmarks for grants rather than asking the question whether alternatives might make more sense, ironically limiting innovation.
Mature industries like the wind and solar generation sectors with extensive and dynamic economic activity are not in need of federal interference, however well-intentioned. While basic research is a reasonable federal role, responsibility for later phases of the business cycle such as commercialization or deployment is best left in the hands of the industry itself.”
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