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Marine and Hyfrokinetic Renewable Energy Promotion Act of 2011

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

* Mr. INSLEE. Mr. Speaker, this week, I reintroduced the Marine and Hydrokinetic Renewable Energy Promotion Act (H.R. 2994), a bipartisan bill that will improve the research and development program for marine renewable energy. Marine energy is an emerging technology that presents great opportunities. Developing the ability to harness energy from our ocean and tidal currents to power our homes and businesses will create U.S. jobs by building a new manufacturing industry and will improve our energy security. I would like to recognize the leadership of Senator Lisa Murkowski who has introduced a Senate companion, which she has successfully moved through the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Further, I appreciate the support of my House colleagues Representatives Don Young and Theodore Deutch in working with me on this bill.

* In the Puget Sound area of Washington, research and demonstration on tidal energy are underway, requiring collaboration from the private sector, universities, research institutions and public utilities. However, national leadership is needed to truly realize the benefits of commercial-scale marine hydrokinetic projects in the United States. The U.S. Department of Energy established the Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center, run by the University of Washington and Oregon State University, to develop tidal and wave research projects. They are working with the private sector to demonstrate new technologies. Additionally, the Department of Energy's Marine Sciences Laboratory on the Olympic Peninsula assesses waterpower resource potential to address and remove environmental roadblocks to deployment, testing to accelerate the integration of large-scale waterpower electricity generation into the Northwest power grid, and is essential to establishing a robust basis for industrial investment based on verifiable technology performance, assured cost basis, and environmental performance.

* The Marine Renewable Energy Promotion Act will accelerate these efforts by establishing a competitive research, development and demonstration program at the Department of Energy that is specifically devoted to marine and hydrokinetic renewable energy. This office will help to develop new marine renewable energy technologies, increase reliability and durability of facilities, reduce manufacturing and operating costs of the devices, help identify and address environmental impacts of marine renewable energy and make sure that such power can be integrated into the national electricity grid. Additionally, the bill will ensure that the Department of Energy works with research institutions to set up marine and hydrokinetic energy test facilities in the United States, supporting efforts underway nationwide and at the University of Washington, which are critical in our efforts to demonstrate a wide range of technologies, and evaluate the technical viability of each new and emerging type of technology at different scales.

* The Electric Power Research Institute has estimated that ocean resources in the United States could generate 252 million megawatt hours of electricity, which given as much support as other types of renewable energy, could be equivalent to 6.5 percent of America's entire electricity generation. With such great potential to spur American innovation and job creation, I urge my colleagues to support this important bill.

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