Saying that a long-term energy policy that includes investing in alternative fuel generation is critical to the future of our economy, Ninth District Congressman Adam Smith is working to make fuel cell technology more affordable for consumers.

"Instead of just thinking about the fossil fuel energy sources of the past, we need to use technology to find new sources of affordable energy to power our economy," Smith said. "Fuel cells can be an important part of an energy policy for the future."

Fuel cells combine hydrogen and oxygen into water, producing water, electricity and heat, but little or no pollution and noise. As with many new energy technologies, fuel cells are relatively expensive. Smith is co-sponsoring legislation to encourage fuel cell investment and use by giving businesses and consumers a $1,000 tax credit for every 1,000 kilowatts of fuel cell generation they purchase.

"We are delighted that Congressman Adam Smith is co-sponsoring this legislation, a key element in fostering the development of fuel cell technology, which offers a clean, efficient and reliable solution to our nation's growing energy needs," said Nu Element Inc. CEO Karen Fleckner. Nu Element Inc, is a Tacoma-based fuel cell technology developer. 

Smith remarked that fuel cell technology is just one piece of a much larger energy agenda. "We need temporary price caps to protect consumers and businesses from the spiraling costs of energy in the short-term," he said. "We also need to embrace technologies to promote conservation and more efficient use of energy, as well as investing in long-term sources of energy like fuel cells."

Smith also noted that the Pacific Northwest is home to several technologies that could play a role in a long-term energy strategy. He has toured local companies such as MagnaDrive, RamGen, and Thermal Conversion Corporation to learn more about the technologies under development.

"Making fuel cells more affordable for consumers and businesses is one small step," said Smith. "I am looking forward to working with my colleagues in Congress and with the White House in developing an energy policy for the future that will power our economy and protect our natural resources."