Severe U.S. Budget Cuts Threaten Energy Innovation Programs, New Report Shows

WASHINGTON, April 23, 2018 – As Congress considers funding for Fiscal Year (FY) 2019, a new report released today by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) calls on appropriators to reject the administration’s proposed cuts to the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) budget for research, development, and demonstration (RD&D). The report from the world’s top science and tech-policy think tank provides an in-depth analysis of the programs and subprograms that make up the clean energy innovation budget, detailing the threats posed by administration’s current budget proposal and the opportunities that increased funding would create.

“Congress was right to reject extreme cuts to the DOE’s budget in previous years, and lawmakers should continue to expand this investment in the next fiscal year,” said ITIF Senior Fellow David Hart, co-author of the report. “The current budget trajectory would double federal energy RD&D funding, which would fulfill a commitment the United States made along with 19 other countries to accelerate the global transition to cleaner, more affordable, more reliable energy.”

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The administration’s proposed budget would impose the largest single-year decrease in the department’s history. Energy programs comprise just 22 percent of the total DOE budget, and the proposed cuts would fall most heavily on federal funding for applied research, development, pilot, and demonstration projects, as well as the tech-to-market, technology transfer, and advanced manufacturing programs.

In a series of individually tailored analyses, the report examines the impact the proposed budget would have on the following areas: the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E); Solar Energy; Wind Energy; Water Power; Geothermal Technologies; Vehicle Technologies; Bioenergy Technologies; Hydrogen & Fuel Cells; Advanced Manufacturing; Building Technologies; Grid Modernization; Cybersecurity for Energy Systems; Nuclear Energy; Carbon Capture; Carbon Storage and Utilization; Advanced Coal Energy Systems; Oil & Gas; Basic Energy Sciences; and Fusion Energy Sciences.

“The United States has historically been a global leader in energy innovation, but is at risk of falling behind its competitors in many clean energy technologies that show the greatest growth potential,” said Colin Cunliff, ITIF Clean Energy Policy Analyst and co-author of the report. “Maintaining strong federal support for energy RD&D is essential to U.S. national security, economic competitiveness and productivity, and environmental stewardship.”

Read the report: itif.org/energy-budget

The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) is an independent, nonpartisan research and educational institute focusing on the intersection of technological innovation and public policy. Recognized as one of the world’s leading science and technology think tanks, ITIF’s mission is to formulate and promote policy solutions that accelerate innovation and boost productivity to spur growth, opportunity, and progress. Learn more at itif.org.