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The Energy Innovation Tracker (EIT) is a comprehensive database that catalogues federal energy innovation-related spending from 2009 to 2011 (inclusive of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act spending) across nine federal agencies. Through a publicly available website and database, EIT allows the public to quickly access, query, segment, and filter federal energy innovation programs and download detailed sets of program line-items to facilitate a variety of analysis and in-depth assessments of federal research efforts.
For a complete introduction to the Energy Innovation Tracker, see:
Using the Energy Innovation Tracker, a high-level analysis of overall federal energy investment trends across agencies, technologies and innovation phases can be conducted, to act as a baseline for the development of comprehensive federal energy innovation strategies. One such analysis is presented below, using data from the BETA version of the EIT database as of 12/7/2010.
Annual Trends across Innovation Phases
The Energy Innovation Tracker (EIT) finds that overall federal spending on total energy innovation-related projects grew from $3.2 billion in FY 2009 to $3.4 billion in FY 2010. Requests for FY 2011 jumped to nearly $4.3 billion, a 27 percent increase over FY 2010 appropriation levels.
In addition to normal fiscal year budget appropriations, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) provided a significant, temporary boost to energy innovation-related funding in FY 2009 and FY 2010. All together, about $4 billion in ARRA funding was allocated to energy innovation-related projects. Because ARRA funds were dispersed over multiple years, it is difficult to discern specifically when funds for a specific project were spent. However, to illustrate the relative magnitude of funding provided in the Recovery Act, Figure 1 depicts these funds as equally distributed across FY 2009 and FY 2010, representing a nearly two-thirds increase over regular annual appropriations.
Figure 2 illustrates the total magnitude of U.S. energy innovation spending for FY 2009 and FY 2010 appropriations and the FY 2011 budget request. As the figure illustrates, while FY 2011 requests for appropriations appear to have increased substantially from FY 2010 appropriations, federal agencies have been operating during FY 2009 and FY 2010 with budget levels increased by ARRA funds. Thus, FY 2011 budget requests would actually represent a decrease in operating budgets for many federal energy innovation-related agencies from the previous two years.
The distribution of funds by phase of technology development has stayed relatively consistent across FY 2009 and FY 2010 budgets and FY 2011 requests. Appropriations for FY 2010 have been heavily concentrated in RD&D, representing about 66 percent of annual energy innovation funding, with Basic Science coming in second and representing about one third of total funding. The bulk of ARRA funding went towards RD&D activities, with a smaller proportion of ARRA funding devoted to Basic Science projects and Training and Education projects.
Annual Trends Across Technology Categories
Shares of funding by technology categories have also been fairly stable across FY 2009 and FY 2010 budgets and FY 2011 requests, with between 47 percent and 60 percent of funds devoted to electricity-generating technologies (see Figure 3 for FY 2010 funding shares by primary technology category).
Within the Electricity category, Nuclear received the most funding in FY 2010, receiving 22 percent of total funds, with Solar, Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS), Fuel Cells, Fusion, and advanced Coal technologies also well represented (Figure 4). A smaller portion of appropriations was directed to Geothermal Technology, Electricity Generation Efficiency, Storage, Hydrogen, Waste Heat, and Wave Power (combined in the Other category in Figure 4 below).
Figure 5 presents yearly trends in the highest funded sub-technology categories. Aside from Uncategorized projects – a category which primarily represents multidisciplinary projects that could have numerous technological outcomes – Nuclear, Efficiency, Biofuels, and Solar projects receive the highest amount of funding across all years. Funding of most technologies has grown each year, with Solar and Nuclear funding growing significantly in FY 2011 requests and Fuel Cell, Hydrogen, and Grid funding dropping slightly from FY 2010 levels.
A relatively significant share of funding, particularly through the ARRA, is ‘Uncategorized,’ which primarily represents basic energy science projects with potentially wide applications. For example, an uncategorized DOE Material Science project supports basic research on the fundamental interactions of photons and neutrons with matter, aimed at generating, manipulating, and detecting ultrashort and ultrahigh-peak-power electron, x-ray, and laser pulses. As this is early stage research, the potential outcomes and applications of this research are as yet undetermined and could result in innovative breakthroughs in new solar panel materials, fuel cells, and better battery storage among others. In addition to basic science projects with a potentially wide number of applications, FY 2011 data in the EIT database currently depends on less precise budget requests, rather than actual allocations and distributions of funds. For example, budget requests for the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy (ARPA-E) could fund any number of energy technologies, and thus show up as Uncategorized spending for the FY 2011 request, whereas FY 2009 and FY 2010 funds for ARPA-E have now been awarded to specific projects and can be categorized by technology area. As a result, more funding appears to be Uncategorized in FY 2011 requests than in the FY 2009 and FY 2010 actual appropriations figures.
Looking specifically at ARRA funding across technology phases and major technology categories (see Figure 6 below), the bulk of funding went towards RD&D activities for all technology categories. The Electricity category was most heavily funded under ARRA, receiving roughly 60 percent of all ARRA funding, 94 percent of which was dedicated to RD&D activities.
Among sub-technology areas receiving ARRA funding, Efficiency technologies were the highest funded category, receiving $903M through ARRA funding. Technologies for Carbon Capture and Storage also received a substantial amount of stimulus funding, $855M, as well as Grid projects, which received $706M in funding. Figure 7 presents a breakdown of ARRA funding by major sub-technology categories, where all other technologies receiving smaller funding allotments, such as Coal, Wave Power, and Wind, are denoted as ‘Other.’
Annual Trends Across Government Agencies
Across all fiscal years, the vast majority of funds– about 90 percent – have been allocated to DOE. Smaller portions were distributed to the Departments of Transportation, Agriculture, Commerce, Interior, and Defense, the National Science Foundation, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, each of which received roughly 2 percent or less of overall federal energy innovation related funding. Figure 8, below, demonstrates the FY 2010 appropriations breakdown by Department.
ARRA funding for energy innovation was distributed across only three agencies: the DOD, the DOE, and the NSF. Here again, the majority of funding (91 percent) went to the DOE. Notably however, 7 percent of ARRA funding for energy innovation was allocated to the DOD, which is a substantially larger share than the 1.6 percent share of FY 2010 budget appropriations directed to the DOD. This funding went entirely to the Near Term Energy Efficient Technologies program (NTEET), which funded mission relevant energy RD&D projects including fuel cells, advanced batteries, hybrid vehicles, and high efficiency, next generation solar cells.
Figure 10 demonstrates the breakdown of DOE funding among sub-agencies across each year and ARRA.
DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy, ARPA-E (Advanced Research Projects Agency- Energy), and Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability received significant increases in share of funding through ARRA relative to FY 2009 and FY 2010 appropriations. The Office of Fossil Energy distributed funding entirely to carbon sequestration projects, while ARPA-E funded RD&D projects across a variety of technologies and is dedicated to transformational energy research, acting as a bridge “between basic energy research and developmental/industrial innovation”.<1>
The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) also received a large portion of ARRA funds, which were largely distributed to a variety of RD&D projects for building efficiency, electricity, and transportation. The DOE Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (OE) also received an increase in funding from FY 2009 through ARRA. Finally, the DOE Office of Science (OS), which predominately funds basic energy science projects, received a smaller share of appropriations through ARRA than in FY 2009 and FY 2010.
FY 2011 appropriations requests are concentrated in DOE’s EERE and Office of Science, while ARPA-E is set to receive $273M for research activities, a drop of over $80M from the total funding it received through ARRA in FY 2009 and FY 2010.
This trends analysis represents one possible use of EIT, which can allow users to construct a rigorous baseline to analyze and develop federal energy innovation strategies. EIT allows users to conduct a myriad of analysis on federal energy innovation investment and has as a goal to accelerate US energy innovation policy analysis and strategy by making accurate and comprehensive data on federal energy innovation investment freely available to everyone.
Notes and Citations
1 US Department of Energy Advanced Research Projects Agency- Energy. About ARPA-E. http://arpa-e.energy.gov/About/About.aspx