The Natural Resources Defense Council today urged Congress to investigate why the Department of Energy (DOE) still has not distributed as much as $600 million in congressionally approved clean energy research and development funding more than two months after the end of Fiscal Year 2018.
Citing the findings in a new NRDC analysis, NRDC managing director of government affairs Ana Unruh Cohen described the delays as “uncharacteristic and concerning” in her letter to the leadership of the House and Senate Appropriations subcommittees on Energy and Water.
“The consequences of the funds remaining unspent with no apparent plan for utilization is not only an insult to congressional direction but undermines U.S. businesses and entrepreneurs in developing the next generation of clean energy technologies,” she said.
NRDC analyzed publicly available data to track research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) spending and found:
- DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) office—which the Trump administration tried twice to eliminate—has not spent more than 79% of its $353 million FY18 research budget ($280 million); and
- The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)—which the Trump administration tried to gut by 70%—has failed to spend more than $319 million (14%) of its $2.32 billion FY18 research budget.
“Given previous efforts by the Trump administration to eliminate or significantly cut funding for key research programs and offices, NRDC fears that certain administration officials at DOE may be attempting to achieve this objective by blocking clean energy RD&D funding from ever finding its way to U.S. businesses and entrepreneurs that are eager to put their ingenuity to work to lead the global transformation to a clean energy future,” she said.
The letter can be found here: https://www.nrdc.org/resources/letter-regarding-does-2018-clean-energy-funding
A blog with more details has been posted here by the authors of the analysis, Medhur Baloor, a Schneider Fellow with NRDC’s Climate and Clean Energy Program analysis team, and Jackie Wong, Climate and Clean Energy Program federal policy group deputy director.
News item from the Natural Resources Defense Council