July 29, 2016
Capitol Update

In this issue:


The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently released a new report, Hydropower Vision: A New Chapter for America’s First Renewable Electricity Source, which looks at the future of hydropower through 2050. According to the report, “with continued technology advancements, innovative market mechanisms, and a focus on environmental sustainability, hydropower in the United States (U.S.) could grow from 101 gigawatts (GW) to nearly 150 GW of combined electricity generation and storage capacity by 2050.” This growth would help to greatly leverage renewable energy sources and advance America’s low-carbon economy.

The report highlights key advances in pumped-storage that can more than double the current capacity of 21.6 GW in the United States, creating an additional 36 GW of capacity. The nation’s electricity is increasingly coming from wind and solar energy, which “can provide the flexibility and reliability the electricity grid needs to deliver affordable clean energy to American homes and businesses.”

Key findings of the hydropower vision report include:

  • Although hydropower is the nation’s oldest form of renewable electricity, many actions and efforts remain critical to further advancement of domestic hydropower as a key energy source of the future. These include continued technology development that lowers costs and the availability of market mechanisms that take into account the value of the grid reliability services, air quality and reduced emissions that hydropower provides.
  • Hydropower has the potential to support more than 195,000 jobs across the nation in 2050.
  • By 2050, hydropower can reduce cumulative greenhouse gas emissions by 5.6 gigatonnes -- equivalent to nearly 1.2 billion passenger vehicles driven in a year -- saving $209 billion from avoided global damages from climate change.
  • By 2050, hydropower can save 30 trillion gallons of water, equivalent to roughly 45 million Olympic-size swimming pools.
  • By 2050, hydropower can save $58 billion from avoided healthcare costs and economic damages from air pollution.
  • New pumped-storage hydropower technology can further integrate variable generation resources, such as wind and solar, into the national power grid because of its ability to provide grid flexibility, reliability and reserve capacity.
  • Developing a comprehensive set of science-based environmental performance metrics and assessment tools will further the design and sustainable operation of hydropower projects.
  • The full report is available at: http://www.energy.gov/eere/water/articles/hydropower-vision-new-chapter-america-s-1st-renewable-electricity-source


    The Department of Energy recently announced a $19 million investment in advanced building technologies to improve the efficiency of our nation’s homes, offices, schools, hospitals, restaurants and stores. These projects are intended to help American businesses and consumers create jobs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and lessen the cost of their utility bills.

    Buildings account for more than 40 percent of the nation’s total energy demand and greenhouse emissions, and therefore, are the largest energy consumer in the nation. This results in an annual energy bill that totals $430 billion. Of this amount, almost one third of this energy is wasted, and the U.S. could save nearly $80 billion annually on energy bills if buildings could reduce energy use by 20 percent.

    “Improving the efficiency of our nation’s buildings presents one of our best opportunities for cutting Americans’ energy bills and slashing greenhouse gas emissions,” said Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz. “These innovative technologies will make our buildings smarter, healthier, and more efficient, driving us toward our goal of reducing the energy use intensity of the U.S. buildings sector by 30 percent by 2030.”

    Additional information about this investment can be found at:


    The Obama Administration recently announced the Clean Energy Savings For All Initiative, a new cross government partnership between the Departments of Energy (DOE), Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Agriculture (USDA), Health and Human Services (HHS), Veteran’s Affairs (VA), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Initiative is focused on increased solar energy access, and the promotion of greater U.S. energy efficiency, especially in low- and moderate- income communities.

    Through this initiative, the Administration intends to improve the options of U.S. households across the country to choose solar and be more energy efficient. The new catalytic goal of the Administration, in collaboration with state agencies, is to bring 1 gigawatt (GW) of solar to low- and moderate- income families by 2020, which is a “ten- fold increase and an expansion of the initial target President Obama set in his Climate Action Plan to install 100 MW of renewable energy on federally-assisted affordable housing by 2020.”

    For more information, please visit: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2016/07/19/fact-sheet-obama-administration-announces-clean-energy-savings-all


    America Makes, the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, driven by the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM), recently announced seven awardees of its most recent Project Call for additive manufacturing projects. NCDMM/America Makes plans to make available approximately $5.5 million to fund multiple awards with $5.5 million in matching funds from the awarded project teams for total funding worth $11 million.

    With this announcement, America Makes’ portfolio will soon grow to nearly $100 million in public and private funds invested in advancing the state-of-the-art in U.S. advanced manufacturing.

    “We are excited to get the projects from this latest Project Call underway as they achieved an unprecedented level of balance between advancing the technical R&D industry needs and developing solid workforce, education, and outreach plans that are so crucial to the successful transition and commercialization of the project outcomes,” said Rob Gorham, America Makes Director of Operations. “America Makes and its membership community are committed to ensuring that the U.S. manufacturing workforce is educated in using AM innovations for our nation’s economic competitive advantage.”

    The five “swim lanes”—Design, Material, Process, Value Chain, and AM Genome—of the Technology Roadmap were the focus of this fourth project call, which was released in March 2016 and thought to hold the greatest potential impact by the Roadmap Advisory Group (RMAG). The Project Call also expanded the role of workforce, education, and outreach (WEO) in the successful transition of research outcomes.

    For more information on the awardees, please visit: https://www.americamakes.us/news-events/press-releases/item/905-america-makes-announces-project-call-awardees


    Family engagement is essential in increasing students' access to opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), especially among girls and underrepresented youth, according to a newly released white paper. The paper is the result of an analysis of STEM education research and STEM programs; a panel discussion with PTA members and STEM education and equity experts; and a convening of thought leaders in STEM, family engagement and education.

    “STEM jobs in the United States are growing twice as fast as other fields. As a result, the demand for qualified STEM professionals is high, but the supply of qualified STEM workers is low—especially among underrepresented groups like minorities and women,” said Laura Bay, president of National PTA. “The gap in the STEM pipeline is not a new problem, but intentionally engaging families is an essential new solution.”

    Some of the report findings include:

    • Lack of knowledge by families of the vast career opportunities in STEM and/or preconceived notions of STEM careers due to their previous engagement or educational experience;
    • Lack of awareness of how to guide their children toward STEM career pathways; and,
    • Lack of empowerment to ensure “high-quality STEM education and programs for all students in school, home, community or digital settings.”

    The National PTA has a new STEM Plus Families initiative, which this white paper is a part. The founding of this initiative is being made possible by the Bayer USA Foundation and Mathnasium.

    Additional information can be found at: http://www.pta.org/newsevents/newsdetail.cfm?ItemNumber=4945

    Visit the ASME Public Policy Education Center at http://ppec.asme.org/ for daily news and policy developments, including the following:

    ASME Government Relations
    1828 L Street, NW, Suite 810
    Washington, DC 20036
    Website: http://www.asme.org/about-asme/advocacy-government-relations