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house Bill H.R. 5638

Should the Dept. of Energy Fund Research Into Artificial Synthesis?

Argument in favor

This bill would lay the groundwork for future solar power technologies, which would be renewable and better for the planet.

Alis's Opinion
···
07/25/2016
Considering this is the only planet we have to live on & climate change is progressing much faster than was predicted, the research needs to be done NOW? Big oil has stood in the way of smaller companies & universities doing the work. Let the government begin. We are not lacking in rabid businessmen who will happily make money when it looks promising. Maybe Exxon will change it's focus & buy other Members, with different priorities, to do their bidding.
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Nick's Opinion
···
08/17/2016
Only fucking idiots can say that this is bad. 1. "We should spend our tax dollars elsewhere, besides, capitalism will fix the problem of fossil fuels pumping harmful gases into the environment that subsequently destroy the ozone layer, making uv rays enter as well as more heat, and co2 and other chemicals that greenhouse effect the climate to be warmer. That's why fossil fuels are bad. THERE ARE SCIENTIFIC REASONS AND RESEARCH TO BACK UP WHY FOSSIL FUELS ARE GOING TO DESTROY THIS EARTH. Conservatives will say we need to make America a more independent nation by taking off government restrictions, but I say we need to help keep the earth ALIVE and make more of an effort for renewable energy to be developed so we don't deplete the fuel sources completely and go into chaos. They will also pull up a graph from 2010 through 2016 that displays co2 levels and global heat and say "here, as you can see, it hasn't been getting warmer. In fact it's been getting cooler! We have nothing to worry about." But when someone pulls up real, factual data from 1900-2016 and you see a spike in co2 and heat throughout the graph. There comes a point where conservatives stop trying to make America great for the next generation but for themselves. Also, there isn't any harm to developing better energy other than the funding. It would be better to see less expensive energy that is powered by the fuel ball in the sky called the sun that has no ecological harm in any way and costs absurdly small amounts of money to maintain. Overall, it's better we do it now rather than later when we have the fuel, the time, and the money to help our world stay alive just a little bit longer. Also, there's no harm to having them fund it either. The doe funds it , and if it fails, it is probably already being worked on in the private sector. Technology doesn't make itself un-discovered, so I would say it would be better for progress that as many people work on it as possible, private and public.
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JayinNC's Opinion
···
08/23/2016
Anything to create and sustain green energy is better for humanity.
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Argument opposed

If companies want to develop solar technologies, they should conduct their own preliminary research. The federal government shouldn’t do it for them.

operaman's Opinion
···
07/24/2016
The Department of Energy should stay out of Capitalism and allow productive business to do the job. The DoE will sap the life out of any innovative idea. If someone developed a project that use water as a transportation fuel, the DoE would declare it a health risk and tax it to death. May even jail a person who was caught filling water fuel tank from a garden hose without DoE approved special EPA fuel adapter.
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Loraki's Opinion
···
07/24/2016
I fail to see why colleges, universities, and the business sector need hand holding and interference by the government. All Americans need to be innovative is for the government to free them from strangling regulations and remove Common Core from our children's educational system. QUIT DUMBING DOWN, CONFUSING, AND BRAINWASHING OUR CHILDREN! I'm flabbergasted that this bill is the brainchild of a Republican, but he's from CA, so maybe that explains it. Also, Uncle Sam needs to approve the Keystone Pipeline! QUIT DEMONIZING FOSSIL FUELS! BTW, anyone remember what happened to Solyndra??? Solyndra received a $535 million U.S. Energy Department loan guarantee, the first recipient of a loan guarantee under President Barack Obama's economic stimulus program, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Additionally, Solyndra received a $25.1 million tax break from California's Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority. In September, 2011, the company ceased all business activity, filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 11, Title 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code, and laid off all employees. The company was also sued by employees who were abruptly laid off. Solyndra was raided by the FBI investigating the company. Federal agents visited the homes of Brian Harrison, the company's CEO, and Chris Gronet, the company's founder, to examine computer files and documents. Also, in September 2011, the US Department of the Treasury launched an investigation. Bloomberg reported in 2011 that Solyndra's $733 million plant had whistling robots and spa showers, along with many other signs of extravagant spending. Also in 2011, a US Department of the Treasury official confirmed that the criminal probe of Solyndra is focused on whether the company and its officers misrepresented the firm’s finances to the government in seeking the loan or engaged in accounting fraud. Newly revealed emails showed that the Obama administration had concerns about the legality of the Department of Energy's loan restructuring plan and warned OMB director Jeffrey D. Zients that the plan should be cleared with the Department of Justice first, which the Department of Energy had not done. The emails also revealed that as early as August 2009, an aide to then-White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel had asked a Department of Energy official if he could discuss any concerns among the investment community about Solyndra but that the official dismissed the idea that Solyndra had financial problems. The bankruptcy court approved the hiring of the chief restructuring officer Todd Neilson. .... .... In 2012, a very small fraction of the glass tubes, which Solyndra had produced, became part of an art installation at the University of California Botanical Garden. Also in 2012, the US Department of Justice objected to the bankruptcy plan amidst allegations that "the plan's primary purpose is tax avoidance through the preservation of hundreds of millions of dollars of net operating losses (NOL) after reorganization". Also, the successor company is named 360 Degree Solar Holdings, Inc., which would have control over "approximately US$ 350 million in tax attributes", such as NOL carryovers. The case In re Solyndra LLC et al., No. 11-12799 (Bankr. D. Del.), Judge Mary F. Walrath of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware ruled "that the evidence does not support a finding that the principal purpose of the plan was tax avoidance." "Solyndra's owners, Argonaut Ventures I LLC and Madrone Partners LP" will "realize the tax benefits of between $ 875 million and $ 975 million of net operating losses, while more senior creditors, including the Department of Energy, which provided a $ 535 million loan guarantee to Solyndra, will receive nearly nothing." In 2011 and 2012, during Obama's re-election campaign, the political advocacy group, Americans for Prosperity, spent $8.4 million in swing states on television advertisements denouncing the loan guarantee. The Wall Street Journal described the advertising campaign as "perhaps the biggest attack on Mr. Obama so far." https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solyndra
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···
08/14/2016
Government spending has increased considerably over the past decade and unless a dramatic shift occurs, spending will continue to grow at unsustainable rates. Alleviating the huge debt burden that the government is placing on future generations, reining in federal spending must be a priority. One good place to start is to cut the wasteful, inefficient, and unnecessary spending at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Congress’s ultimate objective should be to eliminate any Department of Energy function that does not support a critical national interest unmet by the private sector. This objective will require a broad reorganization, and could very well result in the elimination of the entire department. Elimination, however, should not be the immediate policy goal. A graduated approach that begins with reining in spending would likely enjoy bipartisan support and provide a foundation for further reform.
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What is House Bill H.R. 5638?

The Solar Fuels Innovation Act would authorize the allocation of about $150 million annually to a new research program at the Department of Energy (DOE). The initiative would work to advance current chemistry and material sciences to the point where scientists and private companies can convert sunlight into storable fuels through artificial photosynthesis. The lawmakers behind this bill hope to make solar power a cost-efficient alternative to fossil fuels, through investment in artificial photosynthesis research.

The program, which would be directed by the Secretary of Energy, would be called the Solar Fuels Basic Research Initiative. It would require no new funding, and would be supported by dollars already allocated for the Department of Energy.

As part of the initiative, the Secretary of Energy would coordinate multi-disciplinary teams including representatives from national laboratories, universities, and the private sector, to conduct research in photochemistry, electrochemistry, biochemistry, and materials science.

The legislation would also direct the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) to coordinate early-stage research to help scientists better understand how to replicate photosynthesis. This type of basic research is crucial to innovation, but difficult for the private sector to conduct. The DOE hopes that if the government helps advance this early-stage research, private companies will be able to build upon it and use it to develop new energy technologies.

Impact

The Secretary of Energy; the Department of Energy and its employees; private sector companies that would utilize this research to develop solar technologies in the future; anyone who would be involved in the initiative, including scientists, researchers, universities, national labs, and private sector groups; non-solar energy companies that stand to lose market if solar power technologies improve.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 5638

The CBO estimates that this bill would not result in any new spending, as it directs funds already authorized to the Dept. of Energy.

More Information

In Depth: The Department of Energy often partners with national labs and universities to conduct research in the physical sciences. The DOE is particularly interested in transforming solar energy into chemical fuels through artificial photosynthesis. The Department has created an “Innovation Hub” focused on developing this technology, called the Joint Center for Artificial Synthesis (JCAF). As the JCAF explains on its website:

“The Sun produces enough energy in one hour to power all human activity on Earth for a full year, and yet storage of this energy in the form of fuels has remained technically elusive despite steady scientific progress. The design of highly efficient solar-to-fuels generators that utilize water and carbon dioxide is both a formidable challenge and an opportunity that, if realized, could have a revolutionary impact on our energy system.”

This bill seeks to further coordinate coordinate research by national labs and universities, and facilitate the implementation of this research by the private sector. It hopes to lead to “the next breakthrough in solar energy technology.”


Of Note: Sponsoring Rep. Stephen Knight (R-CA) said in a press release:

“This legislation would chart the path on breakthrough technology to turn sunlight into storable fuels, fundamentally changing the way we get energy and leading to entirely new economic sectors.”

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, said:

“With the increased coordination between basic research and early-stage translational R&D in this bill, American entrepreneurs will rely on this research and someday develop the next generation of solar technology.”

According to Rep. Knight’s press release, the bill is supported by a number of universities, including Caltech and UC Irvine.



Media:

Summary by Katie Rose Quandt
(Photo Credit: By Mariordo Mario Roberto Duran Ortiz - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10995864_)

AKA

Solar Fuels Innovation Act

Official Title

To provide for the establishment at the Department of Energy of a Solar Fuels Basic Research Initiative.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
  • The house Passed July 12th, 2016
    Passed by Voice Vote
      house Committees
      Committee on Science, Space, and Technology
    IntroducedJuly 6th, 2016

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    Considering this is the only planet we have to live on & climate change is progressing much faster than was predicted, the research needs to be done NOW? Big oil has stood in the way of smaller companies & universities doing the work. Let the government begin. We are not lacking in rabid businessmen who will happily make money when it looks promising. Maybe Exxon will change it's focus & buy other Members, with different priorities, to do their bidding.
    Like (17)
    Follow
    Share
    The Department of Energy should stay out of Capitalism and allow productive business to do the job. The DoE will sap the life out of any innovative idea. If someone developed a project that use water as a transportation fuel, the DoE would declare it a health risk and tax it to death. May even jail a person who was caught filling water fuel tank from a garden hose without DoE approved special EPA fuel adapter.
    Like (17)
    Follow
    Share
    I fail to see why colleges, universities, and the business sector need hand holding and interference by the government. All Americans need to be innovative is for the government to free them from strangling regulations and remove Common Core from our children's educational system. QUIT DUMBING DOWN, CONFUSING, AND BRAINWASHING OUR CHILDREN! I'm flabbergasted that this bill is the brainchild of a Republican, but he's from CA, so maybe that explains it. Also, Uncle Sam needs to approve the Keystone Pipeline! QUIT DEMONIZING FOSSIL FUELS! BTW, anyone remember what happened to Solyndra??? Solyndra received a $535 million U.S. Energy Department loan guarantee, the first recipient of a loan guarantee under President Barack Obama's economic stimulus program, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Additionally, Solyndra received a $25.1 million tax break from California's Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority. In September, 2011, the company ceased all business activity, filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 11, Title 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code, and laid off all employees. The company was also sued by employees who were abruptly laid off. Solyndra was raided by the FBI investigating the company. Federal agents visited the homes of Brian Harrison, the company's CEO, and Chris Gronet, the company's founder, to examine computer files and documents. Also, in September 2011, the US Department of the Treasury launched an investigation. Bloomberg reported in 2011 that Solyndra's $733 million plant had whistling robots and spa showers, along with many other signs of extravagant spending. Also in 2011, a US Department of the Treasury official confirmed that the criminal probe of Solyndra is focused on whether the company and its officers misrepresented the firm’s finances to the government in seeking the loan or engaged in accounting fraud. Newly revealed emails showed that the Obama administration had concerns about the legality of the Department of Energy's loan restructuring plan and warned OMB director Jeffrey D. Zients that the plan should be cleared with the Department of Justice first, which the Department of Energy had not done. The emails also revealed that as early as August 2009, an aide to then-White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel had asked a Department of Energy official if he could discuss any concerns among the investment community about Solyndra but that the official dismissed the idea that Solyndra had financial problems. The bankruptcy court approved the hiring of the chief restructuring officer Todd Neilson. .... .... In 2012, a very small fraction of the glass tubes, which Solyndra had produced, became part of an art installation at the University of California Botanical Garden. Also in 2012, the US Department of Justice objected to the bankruptcy plan amidst allegations that "the plan's primary purpose is tax avoidance through the preservation of hundreds of millions of dollars of net operating losses (NOL) after reorganization". Also, the successor company is named 360 Degree Solar Holdings, Inc., which would have control over "approximately US$ 350 million in tax attributes", such as NOL carryovers. The case In re Solyndra LLC et al., No. 11-12799 (Bankr. D. Del.), Judge Mary F. Walrath of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware ruled "that the evidence does not support a finding that the principal purpose of the plan was tax avoidance." "Solyndra's owners, Argonaut Ventures I LLC and Madrone Partners LP" will "realize the tax benefits of between $ 875 million and $ 975 million of net operating losses, while more senior creditors, including the Department of Energy, which provided a $ 535 million loan guarantee to Solyndra, will receive nearly nothing." In 2011 and 2012, during Obama's re-election campaign, the political advocacy group, Americans for Prosperity, spent $8.4 million in swing states on television advertisements denouncing the loan guarantee. The Wall Street Journal described the advertising campaign as "perhaps the biggest attack on Mr. Obama so far." https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solyndra
    Like (10)
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    Government spending has increased considerably over the past decade and unless a dramatic shift occurs, spending will continue to grow at unsustainable rates. Alleviating the huge debt burden that the government is placing on future generations, reining in federal spending must be a priority. One good place to start is to cut the wasteful, inefficient, and unnecessary spending at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Congress’s ultimate objective should be to eliminate any Department of Energy function that does not support a critical national interest unmet by the private sector. This objective will require a broad reorganization, and could very well result in the elimination of the entire department. Elimination, however, should not be the immediate policy goal. A graduated approach that begins with reining in spending would likely enjoy bipartisan support and provide a foundation for further reform.
    Like (7)
    Follow
    Share
    Only fucking idiots can say that this is bad. 1. "We should spend our tax dollars elsewhere, besides, capitalism will fix the problem of fossil fuels pumping harmful gases into the environment that subsequently destroy the ozone layer, making uv rays enter as well as more heat, and co2 and other chemicals that greenhouse effect the climate to be warmer. That's why fossil fuels are bad. THERE ARE SCIENTIFIC REASONS AND RESEARCH TO BACK UP WHY FOSSIL FUELS ARE GOING TO DESTROY THIS EARTH. Conservatives will say we need to make America a more independent nation by taking off government restrictions, but I say we need to help keep the earth ALIVE and make more of an effort for renewable energy to be developed so we don't deplete the fuel sources completely and go into chaos. They will also pull up a graph from 2010 through 2016 that displays co2 levels and global heat and say "here, as you can see, it hasn't been getting warmer. In fact it's been getting cooler! We have nothing to worry about." But when someone pulls up real, factual data from 1900-2016 and you see a spike in co2 and heat throughout the graph. There comes a point where conservatives stop trying to make America great for the next generation but for themselves. Also, there isn't any harm to developing better energy other than the funding. It would be better to see less expensive energy that is powered by the fuel ball in the sky called the sun that has no ecological harm in any way and costs absurdly small amounts of money to maintain. Overall, it's better we do it now rather than later when we have the fuel, the time, and the money to help our world stay alive just a little bit longer. Also, there's no harm to having them fund it either. The doe funds it , and if it fails, it is probably already being worked on in the private sector. Technology doesn't make itself un-discovered, so I would say it would be better for progress that as many people work on it as possible, private and public.
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    Eliminate The DOE waste of tax dollars.
    Like (3)
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    Anything to create and sustain green energy is better for humanity.
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    The Department of Energy needs to be abolished so the free market can develop new technologies.
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    This is the role of the government, to support the direction of a nation and guide it towards a sustainable future for us all. This provides a great opportunity for research to be performed without forcing the private market to throw money at currently high risk low reward projects. We must continue to create novel ideas and this is the best way forward.
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    Planet > Capitalism
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    The government should be leading the way into utilizing clean renewable energy. Ending our dependence of dirty, harmful fossil fuels should be a major priorty.
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    This is a state jurisdiction get the Fed out of it. Defund this department.
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    If this technology is viable and has the potential to fix the problem of solar power distribution, then the free market should fund its research. I am tired of the govt wasting our tax dollars on these efforts. Solyndra anyone? Btw, let's not forget that "man-caused global warming" is a proven scam. The climate changes, yes that is a fact. However, human activity has a minor impact. Fact: 400 years ago the planet was much warmer than today. How many SUVs and coal powered plants were there in the 1600s? (Answer...Zero)
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    We can't say that the government shouldn't fund the survival of the planet but accept the domination of and reliance on the fossil fuel industry. Our current way of life is unsustainable and if we want a future, this paves the way.
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    A clean and effective energy would transform our world in so many positive ways that it would be foolish not to research possible methods.
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    No it is called capitalism for a reason. DOE never produced a drop of power anyways. It just mucks up the systems where good money could be spent.
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    The government is broke. Stop spending money. Why not cut costs.
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    If it was viable the private sector would be doing it; let them!
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    I would only ask that the companies prove they have not donated to any political candidate or cause whatsoever.
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    Repeat after me: PRIVATE SECTOR! PRIVATE SECTOR! PRIVATE SECTOR!
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