Appropriations Act Provides Nearly $2 Billion in New Funding for EERE

March 18, 2009

President Barack Obama signed an omnibus appropriation act into law on March 11, providing $1.93 billion for DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) for fiscal year (FY) 2009, which runs through the end of September. The funding represents a 13.5% increase above FY 2008 funding, which was $1.72 billion. Although FY 2009 started in October 2008, DOE and many other federal agencies have been operating under a continuing resolution, awaiting congressional action on the appropriations act. The continuing resolution held spending levels equal to those set by the FY 2008 budget, but that all changed in February, when the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provided a one-time injection of $16.8 billion into the EERE budget. Combining that economic stimulus funding with the FY 2009 budget yields a total budget of $18.73 billion for EERE, an 11-fold increase above FY 2008 funding levels. See the president's press release on the appropriations act, and see the article from the EERE Network News on the economic stimulus funding.

Of the $1.93 billion in new funding for EERE, the act provides nearly $169 million for hydrogen technology, including $3 million for fuel processors and $5 million for manufacturing activities; $217 million for biomass energy; $175 million for solar energy, including $30 million for concentrating solar power; $55 million for wind energy; $44 million for geothermal energy; $40 million for "water power," which includes both conventional hydropower and tidal and marine technologies; $273 million for vehicle technologies, including $25 million for the Clean Cities program; $140 million for building technologies, including $33 million for the Commercial Buildings Initiative and $25 million for solid-state lighting; $90 million for industrial technologies, including $7.5 million for energy-saving technologies for the steel, glass, and metal-casting industries and $25 million to support distributed energy, combined heat and power, and advanced reciprocating engines; and $22 million for the Federal Energy Management Program. Given the separate funding injection from the economic stimulus act, these funding levels are difficult to analyze, but they represent clear funding gains for nearly all of these technology programs, including a doubling in funding for geothermal energy and a four-fold increase in water power funding relative to FY 2008.

EERE's grant programs, international programs, infrastructure development activities, and other supporting activities also received funding increases under the appropriations act. The Weatherization Assistance Program received $200 million, while the State Energy Program received $50 million, adding to the $8 billion directed through these programs by the economic stimulus act. The International Renewable Energy Program gained $5 million in funding, while $6 million will go toward tribal energy activities. For facilities and infrastructure, the act provides $76 million, most of which will go to DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory, including $41 million to complete construction of the Energy Systems Integration Facility. It also provides $5 million for the Renewable Energy Production Incentive and nearly $146 million for DOE program support and direction. The act also specifies that nearly $229 million in funds will go toward congressionally-directed projects, also known as earmarks, an increase of nearly 23% above the funding earmarks specified in FY 2008. President Obama has proposed new earmark reforms for the FY 2010 budget. See the full appropriations act, a summary of the appropriations for energy and water (PDF 44 KB), pages 33-34 of the energy and water section of the appropriations act (PDF 2.8 MB), pages 58-67 of the accompanying explanatory statement for the appropriations (PDF 18.4 MB), and for background, page 65 of the EERE budget request for FY 2009 (PDF 438 KB), which includes prior-year funding levels. Download Adobe Reader.