Jon Powers, founder of Operation Free, discussed energy security and the future of energy innovation in this piece for Fortune.

“Forty years ago, with the stroke of a pen, President Jimmy Carter signed the legislation that created the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), an agency that touches each and every American’s life. This happened in the midst of the energy crisis in the 1970s, when oil prices jumped 350% due to an OPEC oil embargo. The results rippled through the economy and set the stage for the Energy Department’s mission to ensure America’s security and prosperity by working toward energy independence and addressing energy challenges. Today, the agency must build on its past successes and continue to seize the opportunity to create an advanced energy economy.

DOE’s mission is critical to the nation’s security and prosperity, and includes managing the nation’s arsenal of nuclear weapons and reducing nuclear proliferation, coordinating the nation’s federal energy policy and functions, providing early-stage research and development for new technology, and helping key technologies overcome the “valley of death”—the gap between initial demonstration and commercialization—to help advance key industries.

We both worked in the Obama administration, and saw firsthand the incredible science and technology work being done by the Department and its affiliated national laboratories. The government has always played a significant role in innovation, helping to develop the critical technologies and infrastructure that led to the breakthrough of the railroads, the creation of the internet and GPS, and development of the semiconductor industry—essential components of most electronics we use today. A resilient energy market cannot exist without the Department of Energy’s commitment to innovation…”

Read the full article here. Views expressed are his own.