The President’s FY2016 Budget Request, released this week, emphasizes the need to increase investment in energy innovation through key offices and programs at the Department of Energy. Unfortunately the increases – while helpful for sustaining many basic science, research, development, and demonstration projects across technology offices and within cross-cutting initiatives for the Department – are marginal at best, and are significantly less than what is necessary to put the country at the forefront of innovating clean energy technologies to mitigate climate change.
The President’s Request calls for increasing the budget of the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) by more than 40 percent from FY2015 Omnibus levels. The budget also calls for increasing the budget for the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) by 16 percent from FY2015 levels, although in real terms the FY2016 Request asks to fund ARPA-E at the same level it asked for last year – only $325 million.
While the Center for Clean Energy Innovation supports President Obama’s initiative to propose increasing energy innovation programs, it is obvious that much more dedication and prioritization of energy innovation is necessary to lead the world in developing clean energy technologies that will enable deep decarbonization.