May 3, 2012 – Montgomery, Ala. – The Alabama Legislature passed House Bill 518 yesterday, creating The Alabama Public Interest Energy and Fuel Research and Development Grants Program. The grants program will be administered by The Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries, and the Center for Alternative Fuels, under Commissioner John McMillan. This legislation was the developed by the Senate Oversight Committee on Energy, and sponsored by Representative Greg Wren and Senator Cam Ward.
“I am proud to have sponsored this job creating legislation,” Senate Sponsor Cam Ward said. “This is the result of the hard work of the Joint Legislative Committee on Energy Policy, and it represents the good that comes when we put our heads together with industry leaders to develop legislation that will allow Alabama to be on the leading edge of 21st Century energy development jobs.”
This bill also creates a commission that will have grant making authority. The commission will be headed by The Chair of The Permanent Joint Legislative Committee on Energy Policy, The rest of the committee will be comprised of The Lieutenant Governor, Kay Ivey; The Speaker of The House of Representatives, Mike Hubbard; The President of The Public Service Commission, Lucy Baxley, and The Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries, John McMillan. Additional members of the committee will be appointed by the Lt. Governor, The President of The Public Service Commission and The Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries.
“We need to be doing everything we can to help create jobs in Alabama,” Commissioner McMillan said. “I look forward to working with the members of this committee to fund worthwhile and creative research and development projects, and make Alabama a leader in this sector. We have to do more than recruit and retain jobs that already exist – Alabama is going to start discovering the jobs of the future with programs like this.”
The Public Interest Energy and Fuel Research and Development Grants Program will create jobs by taking R&D available from corporations and trusts, and funding projects to discover jobs that aren’t available in Alabama, and in fact may not exist in the world currently. Gasoline currently contains 10% ethanol – but Alabama has no manufacturing facilities. There were 2.6 billion gallons of gasoline sold in Alabama last year, meaning that 260 million gallons of ethanol were needed to produce that gas.
“This program will fund research and development of projects like an ethanol manufacturing facility,” Senator Ward said. “A product that we are importing, supporting the economies of states that produce ethanol. We can and will create and keep alternative energy jobs.”