The House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology held a hearing on September 14 with testimony from U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, giving “An Update on the Department of Energy’s Science and Technology Priorities”. During the hearing, Members of Congress voiced their bipartisan support for fusion funding in order to ensure US leadership in the fast growing industry.
The leaders iterate the importance of increased funding for fusion energy within the Department of Energy’s Office of Science. Chairman Lucas’ opening statement, along with Investigations and Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Jay Obernolte’s opening statement, reflects the need.
Ranking Member Congresswoman Lofgren also commends the budget request, but urges growth. “I am also encouraged by rapid growth in the private sector on fusion energy and the major technical achievements they are now bringing forward. I’m very happy that [Secretary Granholm] and the President proposed funding that matched what we have authorized for fusion energy research, a 32% increase… But there’s a lot more to be done to keep the United States in the lead and ahead of our competitors including Communist China.”
She says, “we are almost at an emergency time for this program”, and that, “only we can fund the various science entities that have that capacity.” Congressman Williams also voices his enthusiasm for the request, stating “I noticed we’re spending a billion dollars on fusion. I’m very excited about that.”
The budget request, Secretary Granholm notes, is “strengthening the milestone program… in order to achieve commercial fusion. The goal is to achieve commercial fusion in a decade.” You can read more about the benefits of the cost-share milestone program here, and about the need for a robust US fusion energy budget here.
“If you take a look at what is on the horizon to rescue our planet, the most promising is fusion energy and its capacity to play an important role in decarbonizing the environment… which is one of the reasons I am so, so focused on the need to do what’s right on the fusion research program at this time. We are at a turning point and if you take a look at the stakes and the amount of resources that we are not allocating, it really is impossible to defend.”
“If we fail at this critical time to put resources into the materials sciences provisions, we will be letting down our country and the world…. Only we can fund it for the various science entities that have that capacity.”
“The fusion program has received bipartisan support in this House and in the Senate. It’s got bicameral support. And I do think we are at almost an emergency time for this program.”Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren
“I noticed we’re spending a billion dollars on fusion. I’m very excited about that.”Congressman Brandon Williams
“Applied research and development programs are designed to advance specific technologies, many of which can be funded by industry, which has an incentive to do so. On the other hand, the basic research done through the Office of Science and our national labs is responsible for breakthroughs that can only be supported by government resources, facilities, and coordination. The milestone achievement of fusion ignition at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory was made possible through the Office of Science.”Chairman Frank Lucas
“The DOE has been placing an unprecedented focus on its applied programs, and I am troubled by the comparative lack of support for the Office of Science. The DOE Office of Science and its national labs play a critical role in maintaining U.S. leadership in emerging technologies, including artificial intelligence, quantum information sciences, and fusion energy. Unlike applied research, which the private sector provides abundant resources to fund, the Office of Science conducts basic research, which the federal government provides a primary role in supporting.”Investigations and Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Jay Obernolte