The proposed Fiscal Year 2018 Department of Energy (DOE) budget an overall trend in research and development across agencies.
In DOE’s case, the administration is seeking nearly a 70 percent cut to the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) budget, a 31 percent cut to nuclear energy research, a 48 percent cut to the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (OE) and a 54 percent cut to the Office of Fossil Energy (FE)—while eliminating a number of popular energy programs, including the Weatherization Assistance Program, the State Energy Program, the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) and the Loan Program Office.
Investing in clean energy and efficiency is not only about the environment—it is about building out a strong, skilled labor force; making U.S. companies more competitive in the global market; and helping millions of Americans save money on energy.
OFFICE OF ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND RENEWABLE ENERGY
(Nearly 70 Percent Cut Proposed)
The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) plays a critical role in saving businesses and families billions of dollars, developing the U.S. clean energy sector, and reducing pollution. EERE consistently delivers value to the U.S. economy and to all Americans. DOE’s 2017 energy jobs report shows approximately 2.2 million workers across the construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, and professional and business service industries are employed, in whole or in part, in the energy efficiency sector and nearly 3 million in clean energy jobs broadly.
EERE also produces a significant return on taxpayer investment. Independent evaluations have assessed one-third of EERE’s research and development portfolio to date and found the $12 billion invested in over a period of many years has already yielded an estimated U.S. net economic benefit of more than $230 billion (an annual return on investment of more than 20 percent).
Energy Efficiency (79 PERCENT CUT PROPOSED)
Appliance Standards: The DOE sets minimum energy efficiency standards for appliances and equipment, saving businesses and residential consumers significant amounts of energy and $63 billion on their utility bills in 2015, alone. A typical household saves about $500 per year off their energy bills as a result of standards, and as people replace their appliances with newer models, they can expect to save even more.
Building Energy Codes: The DOE is required by law to evaluate the national model building energy code after its development to determine if it will save more energy than the previous version. The DOE assists states as they update their local building energy codes, helping commercial and residential owners save money on utility bills and reduce energy waste.
Industrial Efficiency and Advanced Manufacturing: Through partnerships with industry, small business, and universities, the DOE’s advanced manufacturing division invests in emerging technologies with the potential to create high-quality domestic manufacturing jobs.
Weatherization Assistance (ELIMINATION PROPOSED): The DOE spends about $250 million annually to provide grants to states, territories, and some Indian tribes to improve the energy efficiency of the homes of low-income families. More than 7 million families have benefitted since the program began, with an average annual energy cost savings of more than $280.
Funding Local Communities (Technical Assistance to Cities and States): States rely on the DOE for funding and technical expertise to meet their individual energy-related goals and reduce energy costs for their citizens.
Federal Energy Management: The DOE’s work has decreased the energy intensity of the federal government—the nation’s largest energy consumer with more than 350,000 energy-using buildings and structures and 600,000 road vehicles—by more than 40 percent since 1975, saving taxpayers millions of dollars.
Renewable Energy (70 PERCENT CUT PROPOSED)
Solar Energy: The DOE leads a national effort to drive down the cost of solar-generated electricity and support residential, commercial, and utility-scale solar adoption. Through its SunShot Initiative, DOE funds grants to universities, private companies, and national labs with the aim to make pollution-free solar energy a low-cost electricity source for all Americans through research and development efforts in collaboration with public and private partners.
Wind Energy: The DOE supports research, development, and deployment activities to accelerate the deployment of wind power through improved performance, lower costs, and reduced market barriers. Recent DOE reports confirm that with technological advancements driving projected cost reductions, in combination with continued siting and transmission development, wind power can be economically deployed to provide renewable power in all 50 states.
Renewable Systems Integration: As renewable energy makes up an increasing portion of our nation’s energy resources, there will be a need for utilities, electric grid operators, regulators and industry, to create and deploy new strategies for integrating clean resources into the power system while maintaining economic and reliable grid operations. The DOE supports efforts to better understand integration opportunities.
Sustainable Transportation (70 PERCENT CUT PROPOSED)
The DOE’s Vehicle Technologies Office: This office supports research, development (R&D), and the deployment of efficient and sustainable transportation technologies to reduce consumer fuel costs, support American industry, and cut pollution.
Examples of these technologies include advanced batteries and electric drive systems, lightweight materials, advanced combustion engines, alternative fuels, and energy efficient mobility systems. Through the EV Everywhere Grand Challenge, DOE is enabling plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) to be more affordable and convenient for America’s families; and DOE’s Clean Cities program is supporting nearly 100 local coalitions to cut petroleum use, which has helped save more than 8.5 billion gallons of petroleum since 1993.
OFFICE OF ELECTRICITY DELIVERY AND ENERGY RELIABILITY (48 Percent Cut Proposed)
The Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (OE) undertakes efforts to strengthen, transform, and improve energy infrastructure so that consumers have access to reliable, secure, and clean sources of energy. To accomplish this critical mission, OE works with private industry, and federal, state, local, and tribal governments on a variety of initiatives to modernize the electric grid. A total of 330 projects were funded through the Recovery Act in support of moving us significantly closer to a more resilient, efficient, and secure power grid. The DOE funded $4.5 billion through OE and the additional private funding from the electric sector totaled $9.5 billion.
LOAN PROGRAM OFFICE (Elimination Proposed)
The DOE’s Loan Program Office (LPO) plays a critical role in ensuring the innovative technologies developed at national labs achieve commercial success in the marketplace. There is a clear, well-documented “valley of death” between R&D phases and private company-supported, commercial success. The first commercial scale projects of new, innovative technologies often face barriers obtaining commercial loans and financing, which LPO helps address. In total, the 30 projects in LPO’s portfolio have resulted in more than $50 billion in project investment, supported over 12,900 construction jobs, and are expected to support almost 1,500 permanent jobs across the nation.
ADVANCED RESEARCH PROJECTS AGENCY-ENERGY (Elimination Proposed)
ARPA-E supports the development and financing of innovative new energy technologies that will create a more secure, affordable, and sustainable American energy future. These projects have the potential to greatly reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign oil, expand our domestic energy resources, and preserve America’s standing as a leader in advanced energy technologies. Since its official start in 2009, ARPA-E has provided over $1.3 million in grants and funding to more than 475 projects across the nation.
In turn, these ARPA-E projects have created over 30 new U.S. companies and attracted more than $1.25 billion in new, private-sector funding. Sixty of the projects have also partnered with other government agencies, such as the Department of the Navy, to further advance the nation’s security and economic prosperity
OFFICE OF SCIENCE AND NATIONAL LABS (17 Percent Cut Proposed)
Some of our nation’s most innovative thinking occurs at DOE’s 17 national labs, which are home to some of the world’s most powerful lasers, fastest supercomputers, and talented researchers, Experts at these powerhouses of science and technology developed the lithium ion batteries that power our cell phones and electric cars, LED lights that use a fraction of the energy of incandescent bulbs, efficient compressors for refrigerators that saved consumers $6 billion in energy costs through the 1990s, and many other technologies that now enrich our everyday lives.