In November, President Obama and other world leaders came together in Paris to launch Mission Innovation, a landmark commitment to dramatically accelerate public and private global clean energy innovation. Through the initiative, 20 countries representing at least 80 percent of global clean energy research and development (R&D) budgets committed to double their governments’ R&D investments in this domain over five years. These additional resources will dramatically accelerate the availability of the advanced technologies that will define a future global energy mix that is clean, affordable, and reliable.
The same gathering marked the launch of the Breakthrough Energy Coalition, an independent initiative spearheaded by Bill Gates. The Breakthrough Energy Coalition is a group of 28 influential investors from 10 countries committed to providing “patient”, early-stage capital that will take innovative technologies from the world’s great laboratories and help build them into energy solutions at scale. In the past, too often promising energy technologies have not crossed the investment “valley of death,” where there was insufficient private-sector funding to develop ideas that require a long time horizon to achieve commercial readiness. While the Breakthrough Energy Coalition is an independent effort and not formally affiliated with Mission Innovation, it is committing to help bridge that valley of death for those technologies developed in the countries that sign up for Mission Innovation and that have the best chance of providing reliable, affordable energy for everyone.
Accelerating clean energy innovation is essential to achieving the goal of limiting the rise in global temperatures to well below 2˚C. While significant progress has been made in cost reduction and deployment of many clean energy technologies, the pace of innovation and the scale of transformation risk falling short of what is required. Mission Innovation and the Breakthrough Energy Coalition constitute powerful complementary efforts to expand research and development for cutting-edge clean energy technologies and support a new generation of scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs. Mobilizing private-sector investment continues to be a key component the Administration’s clean energy innovation strategy, such as through the Administration’s Clean Energy Investment Initiative, which has catalyzed more than $4 billion of independent commitments by major foundations, institutional investors, and other long-term investors, along with executive actions to scale up investment in clean energy innovation. To reinvigorate global efforts in clean energy innovation, all participants in such efforts share a common goal to develop and scale breakthrough technologies and substantial cost reductions to enable the global community to meet our shared climate goals, increase access to clean and affordable energy, support economic development, and strengthen energy security.
Today, President Obama announced the next step in advancing the U.S. commitment to Mission Innovation, laying out his proposal to double federal investment in clean energy research and development from $6.4 billion in FY 2016 to $12.8 billion in FY 2021.
This investment portfolio spans the full range of research and development activities – from use-inspired basic research to demonstration. Doubling this investment will require about a 15 percent increase in clean energy R&D funding in each of the five years of the pledge. The FY 2017 Budget makes the Administration’s commitment clear by providing $7.7 billion in discretionary funding for clean energy R&D across 12 agencies, which is approximately 20 percent above the FY 2016 level.
Mission Innovation investments include:
Department of Energy (DOE). About 80 percent of the government-wide Mission Innovation investment supports DOE research, development, and demonstration activities across the spectrum of clean energy technologies. FY 2017 DOE highlights include:
- Over $105 million for new innovation initiatives to accelerate the rate of invention and successful commercialization of sustainable transportation, renewable power, and energy efficiency technologies, including expanded innovation partnerships with the National Laboratories;
- Over $110 million for new Regional Clean Energy Innovation Partnerships that will support clean energy R&D solutions targeted to the unique characteristics of each region, and draw upon the strengths of each region’s innovation ecosystem;
- Over $261 million for advanced clean energy manufacturing R&D projects and facilities, including two new National Network for Manufacturing Innovation Institutes;
- Over $880 million in cutting-edge sustainable transportation technologies to increase the affordability and convenience of advanced vehicles and domestic renewable fuels;
- Over $500 million to increase the use and reduce the costs of clean renewable power from solar, wind, water, and geothermal energy, including $213 million to support the SunShot Initiative mission to make solar energy fully cost-competitive with traditional energy sources before the end of this decade;
- Over $1.8 billion in basic clean energy research on energy production, conversion, storage, and use, as well on as advancing our understanding of the earth and its climate;
- Over $804 million for programs and infrastructure that support the advancement of nuclear energy technologies, including R&D in advanced nuclear reactor technologies, life extension for existing power plants, and advanced nuclear fuels;
- Over $177 million to support grid modernization, resiliency, and integration of clean energy into the grid; and
- Nearly $564 million in research focused predominantly on development and deployment of carbon capture and storage technologies as well as other approaches to improve the emissions performance of energy generated from fossil fuels.
Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E). The Budget includes $350 million in Mission Innovation discretionary funding for DOE’s ARPA-E, which supports transformational applied clean energy R&D across a wide array of technologies. Beyond these discretionary funds the Budget also includes $150 million in mandatory funding for ARPA-E in 2017 as part of the ARPA-E Trust proposal, which seeks $1.85 billion over five years in mandatory funding for the program. Under that proposal, the FY 2021 budget for ARPA-E would grow to approximately $1 billion.
National Science Foundation (NSF). The Budget includes $512 million for NSF research in a wide array of energy technology areas such as the conversion, storage, and distribution of diverse power sources, and the science and engineering of energy materials.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The Budget includes $348 million for clean energy research at NASA in areas such as revolutionary aircraft technologies and configurations to enable fuel-efficient, low-carbon air transportation.
Department of Agriculture (USDA). The Budget includes $106 million at USDA for competitive and intramural research funding to support development of bio-based energy sources that range from sustainable and economical forest systems and farm products to increased production of biofuels. These investments build on an ongoing commitment to advance renewable energy deployment and increase access to clean energy for all Americans.
Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The Budget expands HUD’s clean energy R&D efforts to help facilitate builders, property owners and tenants to take actions that result in improved energy efficiency or expanded use of low- and no-carbon energy sources. This $10 million effort includes the creation of an advisory group of researchers, builders, tenants, and homeowners to design and implement studies on how to facilitate long-term behavior change in the housing sector, and the evaluation of a clean energy pilot intended to incentivize multifamily property owners and tenants to reduce energy consumption.
U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). USAID will establish a new R&D effort through the Global Development Lab and the Global Climate Change Initiative that will support joint efforts in clean energy – such as electric vehicles or affordable energy-self-sufficient, or net-zero-energy, housing and community buildings – that are important to developing nations.
Compliments of the White House