Most EERE Programs See Increased Funding in Appropriations Bill

January 9, 2008

An appropriations act signed into law in December provides $1.536 billion in direct support of the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), a 4.2% increase over the funds that were provided through a continuing resolution in 2007. The act also directs $186 million toward congressional earmarks. A number of EERE programs will see significant increases under the appropriations act, including hydrogen technology, which is up by 9% over its fiscal year (FY) 2007 funding; solar energy, which is up by 5.7%; geothermal technology, which is essentially quadrupled (but still slightly below its FY 2006 funding level); building technologies, which gained 4.4%; industrial technologies, which gained 14%; weatherization assistance grants, which gained 11%; and tribal energy activities, which increased by 50%.

The act also boosts funding for vehicle technologies by 13%, to $213 million, with more than $94 million going toward hybrid vehicle technologies. The hybrid vehicle research will emphasize the advanced battery technologies needed for today's hybrids and tomorrow's plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles. The act also revitalizes the hydropower program with $19.8 million in funds, but expands the program to include ocean thermal, wave, tidal, and in-stream energy technologies. In addition, the act provides more than $26 million for facilities and infrastructure at DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory, including nearly $5 million toward a new Energy Systems Integration Facility. And the act provides essentially level funding for biomass and biorefinery systems, wind energy, the Federal Energy Management Program, and the Renewable Energy Production Incentive. Only state and international programs suffer under the act, with a 25% cut in state energy funding and an elimination of funds for international activities.

The appropriations act is difficult to interpret, because the act itself contains little detail, referring instead to an "explanatory statement" released in conjunction with an amendment that was added in the House of Representatives. And while that statement contains all the details, its numbers must be adjusted to reflect a later rescission of funds that was made to keep the act within spending limits. As a result, the direct program funding for DOE in the explanatory statement must be adjusted downward by 0.91%, while congressional earmarks must be adjusted downward by 1.6%. See the appropriations act; pages 30-32d (PDF pages 64-70) of the explanatory statement (PDF 4.6 MB); and for comparison, pages 5 and 6 of the DOE spending plan for FY 2007 (PDF 62 KB). Download Adobe Reader.