Testimony as Delivered by Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm
U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy
May 18, 2021

Thank you so much, Chairman Rush, and to Ranking Member Upton, Chairman Pallone, Congressman McEnerny, Ranking Member McMorris Rodgers, and to Members of the Subcommittee: It is really an honor to be here, as the nation’s 16th Secretary of Energy, to discuss the President’s 2022 discretionary budget for the Department.

My vision for the Department is to drive forward the research, development, and deployment of cutting-edge science and technology, in order to advance America’s energy security, economic security, and—critically—national security. 

I am very proud to say we have accomplished a lot since January 20.

I just want to start though, if I could, with just a minute on what unfolded last week.

As you all are aware, this ransomware attack happened on May 7, and it led to the shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline Company’s largest fuel pipeline on the East Coast.

The White House asked my team at the Department of Energy to coordinate an interagency, whole-of-government effort to ensure that the company had the resources necessary to resume operations as quickly and safely as possible, while moving fuel supplies to impacted areas by other means.

This incident was really a stark reminder of the imperative to harden the nation’s critical infrastructure, as you have been discussing, against these serious and growing threats like ransomware.

And in the face of an evolving array of 21st-century risks, we have to rethink our approach to security, and to reassess the authorities that we can bring to bear during these kinds of emergencies.

As the Sector Risk Management Agency for cybersecurity in the Energy Sector, DOE is eager to work with this committee in an effort to ensure that we can be maximally effective in protecting the energy sector, and in meeting the needs of the American people.

Now, beyond that crisis management, we’ve been really busy advancing our core science and nuclear security missions, while also driving innovation—and decarbonization, in particular—technologies forward.

Since the President’s inauguration, we’ve announced nearly $1.5 billion in grants, awards, and funding opportunities for clean energy R&D projects that will help us to achieve a net-zero carbon future.

And much of that reflects what Congress, in a bipartisan fashion, identified as high-priority through that Energy Act of 2020.

So the American Jobs Plan would significantly expand the research, development, and deployment efforts that were identified in the Energy Act of 2020, which is very exciting.

And it will ensure that American researchers are the ones who are making breakthroughs that drive clean energy and our future.

It will ensure that American entrepreneurs take those breakthroughs to scale.

It will ensure that American workers build them right here.

And what’s more is that American Jobs Plan calls for directing 40 percent of the benefits of these investments to communities that have been left behind and unheard for too long...

To people of color and Indigenous people who have disproportionately borne the burdens of fossil fuel pollution, and are now on the frontlines of climate change.

It will help lower-income households that see far too much of their paychecks eaten up by energy bills…

And energy workers who have powered this country for generations, and now stand on the edge of this transition to clean energy.

This committee I know has advanced critical legislation that’s focused on creating jobs that provide a living wage on an equitable basis.

And we share that commitment. We believe wholeheartedly that clean energy will be an engine for such job creation. And we’re holding ourselves accountable to our promises.

Shalanda Baker, who’s my senior advisor, has been helping us figure out how we can lift these communities up, and is overseeing the development of a Justice40 online mapping tool that the public can use to see where the Department’s spending relates to Environmental Justice communities.

President Biden’s proposed 2022 discretionary funding request is going to allow the Department of Energy to take additional steps toward the equitable clean energy future we believe is within reach.

It will invest $46.2 billion in the Department of Energy’s key priorities, including:

  • Deploying clean, cheap, and abundant power on a reliable and resilient and secure grid.
  • It means increasing clean energy research over four years to put America at the forefront of clean energy innovation worldwide.
  • And it means advancing carbon reduction and mitigation through technologies like carbon capture and storage and hydrogen…
  • And breaking down the barriers to increased diversity in STEM fields. 
  • And, of course, strengthening the Department’s nuclear security mission and continuing to advance our Environmental Management program.

So I am humbled by the opportunity to lead the Department of Energy as we pursue this really ambitious agenda. And I have seen up close what our amazing workforce can do.

I have no doubt we can reach our goals, and I look forward to our continued partnership as we work to achieve them. 

Thank you so much.