Funding requests for energy and energy-related programs are prominent in President Obama’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 budget. Here’s a quick breakdown of the requests that jumped out to me:
The National Science Foundation’s (NSF) budget request includes funding for clean energy programs that are intended to foster American competitiveness, which has been a focus of the administration in recent years. According to the budget overview, the administration is requesting an additional $14 million for research into future clean energy technologies, including solar power and energy efficiency technologies, bringing the total funding for that research effort to $355 million. What is notable is the NSF’s research approach would be interdisciplinary by nature, breaking down stovepipes between energy, climate and economic research communities to provide “an integrated approach to increasing U.S. energy independence, enhancing environmental stewardship, reducing energy and carbon intensity, and generating sustainable economic growth.”
The Department of Defense (DOD) budget request naturally includes funding for energy conservation and renewable energy programs given that the department is the single largest consumer of energy in the federal government. According to the DOD overview, the budget includes about $1 billion in requests for energy conservation programs (up from $400 million in 2010). This request includes $32 million for the Installation Energy Test Bed Program, which demonstrates how well new energy technologies would integrate into DOD’s infrastructure of 300,000 buildings. Meanwhile, funding for Operational Energy Capability Improvements would increase from about $20 million in FY 2012 to just over $26 million in FY 2013. (DOD just announced this year’s recipients of Operational Energy Capabilities Improvement funding.)
But not all of DOD’s energy programs will see continued increases. In particular, the Navy’s energy program budget will shrink from $70,538,000 in 2012 to $55,324,000 in 2013. (See pages 37 and 38.) It is not clear why the Navy’s energy program is shrinking, but it could be in part due to fewer planned biofuel and other energy demonstrations in FY 2013, given that the Navy has been steaming ahead quickly with its biofuel demonstrations over the last several years. I’ll need to dig into this more.
The Department of Energy’s (DOE) budget request also includes funding for renewable energy programs. According to DOE’s overview, the budget requests $2.3 billion for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy which provides grants, financing assistance and other incentives to kick start investments in renewable energy and efficiency projects. Among some of the projects that would receive funding include: $310 million for the SunShot Initiative, which is intended to help make solar technology cost-competitive; $95 million for wind-related energy programs, including offshore turbines; $65 million for geothermal energy; $350 million for the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy; and $770 million for the Office of Nuclear Energy, which according to DOE’s budget overview includes funding for research into small modular nuclear reactors.
Of course, not all of DOE’s energy research funding is focused on clean energy. According to DOE’s budget overview, “As part of an overall investment of $421 million in fossil energy R&D, the Budget includes $12 million to fund a multi-year research initiative aimed at advancing technology and methods to safely and responsibly develop America’s natural gas resources.”
DOE’s budget request also includes a proposal to eliminate “$4 billion per year in tax subsidies to oil, gas, and other fossil fuel producers,” arguing that “As we continue to pursue clean energy technologies that will support future economic growth, we should not devote scarce resources to subsidizing the use of fossil fuels produced by some of the largest, most profitable companies in the world.”
Keep an eye out on the comments field below for updates from me as I look more into some of the energy and energy-related spending requests.