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The Good and Bad News of DoE Fiscal Year Budget Request!

March 24, 2013

doe logoThe good news is the Department of Energy (DoE) FY 2013 budget request of $2,337 million for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) programs shows a 29 percent increase from the enacted FY 2012 budget. The bad news is the FY 2013 has not been approved by Congress, as of this writing, see Table 1.

Table 1: FY 2013 DoE Budget Request

IMG00175-20110727-1624Source: Department of Energy [1]

The difference between request and approval (enacted) is best illustrated by the most recent DoE budgets. Congress approved approximately 89 percent or $26,299 million of DoE total budget request for FY 2012. Interestingly, only 57 percent or $1,809 million of the requested allocations for EERE survived Congress, see Table 2.

Similar trends are reflected by FY 2011 DoE budget. Approximately 90 percent or $25,692 million of the total FY 2011 budget was approved by Congress. While not as deep as FY 2012, only about 72 percent or $1,771 million of the requested allocations for EERE survived Congress, see Table 2.

Table 2: FY 2012 and 2011 DoE Budgets – Request and Enacted

DOE FY12 FY11 Budget Request and Enacted Summary

Source: Department of Energy [1] and [2]

A visual summary of DoE FY 2013 budget request is given in the Budget Map shown in Figure 1.[3] It may be a surprise to some, but EERE programs are not major priorities of the DoE. Far more important programs are nuclear weapons, naval reactor, and energy development, which are part of DoE’s DNA origination from its formation from the Atomic Energy and Nuclear Regulatory Commissions.

Programs such as Atomic Energy Defense Activities constitute about 64 percent of FY 2012 DoE enacted budget. EERE allocations are significantly less and comprise only 8.9 percent of DoE total budget request. FY 2012 and FY 2011 enacted budgets allocated about 6.9 percent to EERE.

Figure 1: FY 2013 DoE Budget Map

2013 DoE Budget in blocks (cropped)

Source: Department of Energy [3]

“The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) supports clean energy research, development, demonstration, and deployment activities on technologies and practices that help meet national security, environmental, and economic goals. EERE-supported technologies further these goals by reducing dependence on oil, minimizing the emissions associated with energy production and use, and stimulating economic growth and job creation in the US through the reduction of energy costs and investment in next generation renewable energy and manufacturing.”[1] The EERE portfolio is summarized in Table 4.

EERE programs are classified as Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency or Crosscutting, see descriptions below. Of all the 14 programs, 60 percent of the FY 2013 EERE budget request was allocated between four activities; Vehicle Technologies, Solar Energy, Building Technologies, and Advanced Manufacturing.

Table 4: FY2013 DoE Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Bugdet Request

FY2013 DoE Energy Eff and RenwableSource: Department of Energy [1]

Renewable energy research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) projects include:

  • Biomass and Biorefinery Systems development programs involving biomass conversion technologies to produce a variety of biofuels, bioproducts, and biopower.
  • Geothermal Technologies programs to discover new geothermal resources, develop innovative methods of accessing and using those resources for base-load electricity production, and demonstrate high-impact technologies.
  • Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies commercialization development programs
  • Solar Energy Technologies program’s to make solar energy cost competitive with other sources of electricity, across the Nation and without subsidies, by 2020.
  • Water Power programs to accelerate market penetration of cost-effective and environmentally responsible renewable power generation from water.
  • Wind Energy programs to improve the reliability and affordability of land-based and offshore wind energy systems, with an increased focus on next generation technologies that will enable the capture of America’s sizable offshore wind resources at a competitive price.

Energy Efficiency RD&D projects include:

  • Advanced Manufacturing processes and materials development to enable U.S. companies reduce the costs of manufacturing by using less energy while improving quality and accelerating product development.
  • Building Technologies development activities aimed at more efficient and affordable buildings.
  • Federal Energy Management Program that enable the Federal Government to meet the relevant energy, water, greenhouse gas, and transportation goals.
  • Vehicle Technologies R&D programs that enable the U.S. to greatly reduce transportation petroleum use and greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Weatherization and Intergovernmental Activities to help State, local, U.S. territory, and tribal governments achieve their energy efficiency and renewable energy goals through interactions with utilities and by addressing building codes and other local policies.

Crosscutting initiatives include:

  • Facilities and Infrastructure funding for general plant projects, maintenance and repair, general purpose equipment, upgrades to accommodate new research requirements, and safeguards and security operations for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
  • Program Direction provides personnel and operational resources for executive and technical direction and oversight of EERE portfolio.
  • Strategic Program funds for Communication and Outreach, Strategic Priorities and Impact Analysis of energy costs, energy markets, and energy systems and supply chain issues, including their relationships to energy policy and climate change.

In closing, it’s uncertain what Congress will approve for the DoE. If history is an indicator, renewable energy and energy efficiency programs will be unduly slashed under the congressional knife. In actuality it makes little difference. The amount requested for these programs was insufficient to begin with. Add this to faulty decision making, such as that which prompted the DoE to infuse over $500 million to Solyndra, the California-based solar company. Hey, that alone is over 20 percent of FY 2013 DoE budget request for EERE.

Seems like our government’s message to energy research, development, demonstration, and deployment activities necessary to meet national security, environmental, and economic goals is “Frankly, My Dear, I Don’t Give a Dam.”


[1] FY 2013 DOE Budget Request to Congress,
[2] FY 2012 DOE Budget Request to Congress,
[3] Department of Energy FY13 Budget,

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