Full Title: Further Energizing Innovation in Fiscal Year 2023
Author(s): Hoyu Chong, David M. Hart
Publisher(s): Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF)
Publication Date: May 13, 2022
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The Biden administration’s FY 2023 budget request for the Department of Energy (DOE) calls for a 25 percent increase in investment in clean energy RD&D over FY 2021 enacted levels. Along with the passage of the Energy Act of 2020 and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), this proposal is an encouraging sign for the progress of climate-tech innovation and would sustain the momentum of federal clean energy research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) programs. Continuing along this trajectory is vital to develop the climate solutions the world needs while strengthening the competitiveness of U.S. technology developers and manufacturers.
The context for federal clean energy innovation investments is daunting. Unabated fossil fuels still dominate global consumption. New technologies that would drastically reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from many major sources cost too much, perform too poorly, or are simply unavailable. Although the global energy innovation system still has major gaps, many countries have advanced assertive programs targeting specific sectors that collectively threaten U.S. leadership, including in public funding for energy RD&D, where the United States has long been the top investor.
Such funding has proven its value in the past. Yet, had it kept pace with the growth of the U.S. economy since DOE’s founding in 1978, the department’s RD&D budget today would be about $30 billion, more than three times its level in fiscal year 2022. The bipartisan consensus that led to recent legislation and funding increases must be sustained in order to approach that level again, as numerous expert studies have advocated. The administration’s budget would raise it to over $10 billion in fiscal year 2023. Congress should seize the opportunity to sustain the momentum, accelerate domestic clean energy industries, and shape the U.S. response to climate change.
This report describes DOE’s RD&D programs, assesses significant updates to them, and discusses notable gaps that still remain.