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Public Statements

The Renewable Energy Applied Partnerships (REAP) Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Ms. HIRONO. Mr. Speaker, Hawaii, like the rest of the United States, is entirely too dependent on imported fossil fuels. We must speed up the development of renewable energy technologies that can help wean us from our oil dependence and create economic growth at home. If we sow the seeds of renewable energy innovation today, we will be able to reap the benefits for years to come.

Today I introduce the Renewable Energy Applied Partnerships (REAP) Act. This bill will create a Department of Energy pilot program to provide grants to partnerships which will include community colleges and universities, businesses, nonprofits, labor organizations, state education agencies, National Academies, and other public agencies. These partnership grants can be used to train teachers, recruit students, design renewable energy instructional programs, and encourage collaboration between faculty and industry partners.

The bill builds on the Perkins Career and Technical Education Act to help students learn practical skills for future careers in renewable energy and STEM fields. Partnerships will also receive priority if they can demonstrate long-term sustainability without continued federal funding.

Hawaii is at the forefront of innovation in the renewable energy sector, and I have visited many existing cross-sector partnerships in wind, solar, biofuels, and other renewable energy technology. It is my hope that this bill will help support the very best of these collaborations in Hawaii and around the country, to create jobs and train the next generation of renewable energy workers.

For his work on this bill last Congress, I thank my former colleague, Congressman Patrick Murphy of Pennsylvania, the first Iraq War veteran in Congress and a fighter for STEM education in Pennsylvania and nationwide.

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