The Senate Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Technology, Innovation, and Competitiveness will hold a hearing on the topic of Alternative Energy Technologies, over which Subcommittee Chairman John Ensign (R-Nevada) will preside. This hearing will discuss how new technologies can help address the United States' energy needs.
Witnesses will be announced when available.
Senator John Ensign
Hearing on, “Alternative Energy Technologies”
June 14, 2006
Welcome to today’s hearing on, “Alternative Energy Technologies.”
I would like to thank Chairman Stevens for allowing this Subcommittee to address this important issue.
In 2004, the United States consumed almost 21 million barrels of crude oil and refined products per day. Approximately 60 percent of this oil was imported from other countries. Today, approximately half of our oil imports come from OPEC nations, including Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Nigeria, and Iraq.
Oil supply disruptions pose a threat to our economy and national security and that threat is compounded by the United States’ reliance on foreign sources of oil.
Over the past two years, world oil prices have increased substantially relative to historical levels and American consumers have paid the price. Crude oil prices hovered between $15 and $25 per barrel from the mid-1980s until 2002. Recently, however, crude oil prices have exceeded $70 per barrel.
As the United States Government determines how it should address the Nation’s expanding energy needs, an examination of various alternative energy technologies is important.
Just yesterday, a front-page article in the Wall Street Journal discussed the fact that China is now considering how to encourage greater use of hybrid and electric vehicles to meet rising demand for automobiles. As other nations consider alternative energy technologies, the United States should make sure that it remains innovative in this sector.
This hearing will highlight developments in lithium ion battery technology, fuel cell technology, solar power, wave power, and intelligent energy management products.
Several of these technologies can be used for multiple power purposes. For example, fuel cells can be used to power not only cellphones, PDAs, and other portable products, but also cars and buildings.
While these technologies are not the only alternative energy technologies being developed, they offer promising examples of the progress that has already been made, and which can be made in the energy field in the future.
Imagine the tremendous possibility of using easily rechargeable and environmentally safe lithium ion batteries or fuel cells to power cars, buses, and other vehicles in more efficient ways than we do with petroleum products today. As a Nevadan, I also appreciate first hand the potential positive impact that solar power technologies can have in improving the way homes and businesses are powered. We get a lot of sun out in Nevada and it would be beneficial to utilize solar power in this fashion.
As I have said before in several of this Subcommittee’s hearings, innovation is the key to the future global competitiveness of the United States. Innovation in the field of alternative energy technologies is particularly important in ensuring our Nation’s future economic strength, environmental health, and national security.
We are pleased to have one panel of witnesses here to testify on alternative energy technologies. I look forward to all of our witnesses’ testimony and their response to questions of the Subcommittee.
Witness Panel 1
Dr. Alan J. GotcherPresident and Chief Executive OfficerAltair Nanotechnologies, Inc.
Dr. Francis R. Preli, Jr.Vice President of EngineeringUTC Power, LLC
Dr. K.R. SridharChief Executive OfficerBloom Energy
Mr. Thomas H. WernerChief Executive OfficerSunPower Corporation
Mr. Peter L. CorsellPresident and Chief Executive OfficerGridPoint, Inc.
Dr. George W. TaylorChief Executive OfficerOcean Power Technologies, Inc.
Mr. Daniel J. RaudebaughExecutive DirectorCenter for Transportation and the Environment