WASHINGTON, D.C. ― U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich’s (D-N.M.) bipartisan Energy Technology Maturation Act was passed Thursday out of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
The legislation, cosponsored by Senators Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), would authorize an Energy Technology Maturation Program at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to facilitate successful commercialization of laboratory-developed energy technologies and boost regional, technology-driven economic impact.
“New Mexico’s national labs play a critical role in both national security and development of advanced energy technologies,” Heinrich said. “I am pleased the Energy Technology Maturation Act continues to gain bipartisan support and momentum. By improving the process to transfer innovative technologies from the labs to the private sector, we can spur innovation, boost our private tech industry, and create jobs.”
The effective transfer of technologies from DOE facilities to businesses that can turn them into commercial successes is an essential element of the country’s innovation ecosystem and critical to U.S. competitiveness in an increasingly demanding, technology-driven global market. Technology maturation funding provides the necessary link to ready technology for private investment and achieve its market potential.
Under the Energy Technology Maturation Program, funding would be provided to help increase the maturity of technologies developed at DOE facilities with the goal of attracting a private partner that is willing to support the technology’s next steps to commercialization.
The program would also provide funding to support cooperative development of a technology where a specific commercial partner has already been identified. Priority would be given to private-sector partnerships with small businesses.
The Energy Committee also passed Heinrich’s Securing Energy Infrastructure Act, a bipartisan bill with U.S. Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) to establish a pilot program to identify security vulnerabilities for certain power sector entities, and Heinrich’s legislation with U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) to adjust the FERC process for approving small-value public utility mergers and acquisitions.