Database on U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Budgets for Energy Research, Development, & Demonstration (1978–2019R)

The attached document contains August 2020 updates to our database on U.S. government investments in energy research, development, demonstration, and deployment (ERD3) through the Department of Energy.

The database, in Microsoft Excel format, tracks DOE appropriations from FY 1978–2019 and the 2020 budget request and includes funding for ERD3 from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009. It also includes several charts.

Observations on the FY20 Trump Administration Budget Request for Energy Research

Kelly Sims Gallagher and Laura Diaz Anadon

We annually track [insert hyperlink to Database] the US Department of Energy’s energy research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) budget to ascertain trends, reveal discrepancies, and assess whether budget expenditures are consistent with national priorities. In our review of the Trump Administration’s budget request to Congress for fiscal year 2020 (FY20), we note the following:

  • President Trump continues to propose unprecedented cuts to clean energy RD&D, including:
    • 79% cut to RD&D for vehicle technology efficiency
    • 73% cut to solar
    • 74% cut to wind
    • 75% cut to advanced manufacturing
    • Elimination of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E)
    • Elimination of weatherization and block grants to states for energy efficiency
  • Despite the drastic cuts in the Trump Administration’s budget requests for clean energy, over the past two years, Congress has continued to appropriate funds for clean energy RD&D at or above Obama Administration levels.  FY19 appropriations for all energy RD&D (including fossil, which includes carbon capture and storage) were 14% higher than FY17 appropriations in constant 2015 dollars. For clean energy innovation, the comparison between FY17 and FY19 in constant dollars is:
    • Efficiency up 18%
    • Renewables up 8%
    • ARPA-E up 15%
    • Fission up 28%
    • Fusion up 9%
  • The only area where the Trump Administration appear to be increasing its budget request over FY19 levels is for “advanced energy systems” for coal (41% increase over FY19 appropriation).[i] The goal of this program is to improve the performance of old, pre-existing coal fired power plants.  According to the budget justification for advanced energy systems, “Government-supported early-stage research and development in advanced energy systems can improve the efficiency and performance of these aging [less-efficient coal plant] systems, increasing their competitiveness.”[ii]

[i] Although it appears in the summary table that cybersecurity for electric power is boosted, in fact the FY20 request is no larger than the prior year’s appropriation for this work.  The Administration merely created a different budget line.)

[ii], page 435.