I was distinctly second billing, but I was still happy to stand up for the Department of Energy’s Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Loan (ATVM) program at the House Oversight Committee’s hearing on Fisker last month.
My testimony is here, and my argument, briefly was that:
“today, not just companies, but countries are competing aggressively to lead in the next generation of advanced energy and transportation technology. In a global economy we don’t need to be the only player in these rapidly growing industries but we need to be one of the leaders if our economy is to remain strong into the future.”
Whats more, “manufacturing is a critical component of our innovation policy” without which we fail to capture the full benefits of R&D or generate the next round of innovation.
“The success rate of DOE’s larger loan portfolio is extremely high, but even the ATVM portfolio with a much smaller number of projects looks very good. Even if the full $193M to Fisker must be written off, that loss is less than 2.4%of the funds loaned and less than 3% of the budget authority for this program. The taxpayer is doing well, and communities and businesses are doing even better.” In contrast to years of neglect and decline, we are now seeing revival in critical manufacturing sectors.
While we can and should debate how best to structure partnerships between the public and private sectors to speed advances in advanced technology and manufacturing, we should be past debating whether to do it.
We need to structure our public-private partnerships in such a way that we ” balance the risk in individual projects with the bigger risk for our economy if we fail to move quickly to compete with other nations in the next generation of clean energy and fuel saving technology.” We need a structure that focuses on, reinforces, and grows the success we are already demonstrating we can achieve.