Cantwell, DOE Secretary Granholm Tour PNNL and Tout Advancements in Domestic Tech

Cantwell: “We want our competitive edge… right here in the United States”

 RICHLAND, WA – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm took a tour of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory to observe firsthand the pioneering research and development underway at the lab that will help lead the United States into the next generation of innovation.

Sen. Cantwell and Secretary Granholm discussed the federal research and development funding included in the newly-passed CHIPS & Science Act, which invests $17 in national labs like PNNL. The Senator and Secretary also jointly held a roundtable with Tri-Cities community leaders.

“We feel that the DOE laboratory system is a very good testbed and a very good deployer of technology. We just saw how some new processing of metals today could revolutionize the automotive sector and drive down cost,” Sen. Cantwell said. “We want to patent it in the United States. We want to deploy it in the United States. We want to scale it in the United States. We want our competitive edge in our manufacturing base right here in the United States. We feel like this is the time to do that.”

“Like every state, Washington is eager to work on diversifying its clean energy inputs, and so I’m excited to be able to hear about the great work that's being done here at the lab -- particularly related to the grid,” Secretary Granholm said. “If we want to get to our goal of 100% clean electricity by 2035, we have to significantly expand the grid. And the great work that's being done here at the lab will inform the decisions that we make. Fortunately, because you've got a senator who's such an advocate -- for not just this area, but for Washington, and for clean energy, and for communications, and for technology -- we were able to get a significant investment in grid technology.”

The CHIPS & Science Act marks the biggest-ever investment in American tech innovation. The bill invested nearly $250 billion into American manufacturing, research and development, including a $17 billion increase for National Laboratory funding in ten key technology focus areas such as AI, advanced manufacturing, and clean energy. President Biden signed the bill into law on Tuesday, Aug. 9. Sen. Cantwell was a key architect and lead negotiator of the legislation, and was instrumental in securing funding for scientific research in the 11th hour of debate.

As a cutting-edge domestic research facility, PNNL is very likely to receive funding. PNNL is the largest single employer in the Tri-Cities area and one of the largest in Eastern Washington.

On the tour, Sen. Cantwell and Secretary Granholm observed PNNL’s Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory, where PNNL conducts fundamental research into the molecular sciences. They also toured the facility’s Applied Process Engineering Laboratory, where PNNL is conducting research into high-performance metal manufacturing with a low carbon footprint.

Sen. Cantwell last visited PNNL in April, when she spoke at the groundbreaking ceremony for the lab’s new Grid Storage Launchpad facility. Thursday’s visit marked Secretary Granholm’s first time visiting PNNL. Secretary Granholm also plans to visit the Hanford Site in Benton County on Friday.