Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that the President has signed into law on December 19, 2007, the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.
The purpose of the new law, among others, is to move the United States toward greater energy independence and security, increase the production of clean renewable fuels, protect consumers, increase the efficiency of products, buildings, and vehicles, promote research on and deploy greenhouse gas capture and storage options, and improve the energy performance of the Federal Government.
“This Energy Independence and Security Act, underscores the importance of diversifying our energy supply and reducing our dependency on oil and fossil fuel,” Faleomavaega said. “It provides for investment in research and development on alternative sources of energy.”
“I am especially happy that the new law included ocean thermal energy conversion, a concept that was included in a bill I introduced in the House earlier last year, and I am thankful to Speaker Pelosi and the Democratic leadership for recognizing the importance of ocean thermal energy conversion as a potential alternative source of energy.”
“Title VI, Subtitle C, of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 authorizes $50 million for research and development of marine and hydrokinetic renewable energy technologies, which are identified in the Act as: (1) waves, tides, and currents in oceans, estuaries, and tidal areas; (2) free flowing water in rivers, lakes, and streams; (3) free flowing water in man-made channels; and (4) differentials in ocean temperature (ocean thermal energy conversion),” Faleomavaega explained.
“Also, under Title VI, Subtitle C, grants are awarded to higher education institutions provided that one of the following three criteria is met: (1) Hosts an existing marine renewable energy research and development program in coordination with an engineering program at an institution of higher education; (2) has proven expertise to support environmental and policy-related issues associated with harnessing of energy in the marine environment; and (3) has access to and utilizes the marine resources in the Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic Ocean, or the Pacific Ocean.”
“Moreover, special consideration is given to land grant universities that also meet one of these criteria and I am very excited for the potentials this may have for our American Samoa Community College, either as a single applicant or as part of a consortium.”
“While the U.S. Department of Energy has yet to officially assign an administering unit for this new program, earlier inquiries have indicated it would likely be with its Subdivision on Hydro Power Technology. I am also happy that the significance of marine and hydrokinetic technologies was also evident that nearly $10 million was appropriated specifically for marine and hydrokinetic renewable energy technologies in the appropriations bills for FY2008.”
“By reducing our dependency on fossil fuel oil, I believe this new law can help alleviate several energy-related issues in our territory including high electricity rates. As long as we depend on foreign oil, we are exposed to the volatility of oil market prices. I am therefore hopeful that the Governor, the Fono, and the leaderships of our Territorial Energy Office, and ASPA will work together and take advantage of the opportunities provided in this Act to fully exploit one of the largest natural resources available to us – our ocean – as an alternative source of energy for our territory,” Faleomavaega concluded.