FY2010 Department of Energy Appropriations
(6/26/09)

Untitled Document


     


The Department of Energy (DOE) programs of interest to the geosciences include programs for renewable energy and activities within the Office of Science, such as the Basic Energy Science program which has a geoscience division. Also of interest is the Yucca Mountain site characterization activities and environmental remediation of the nuclear weapons complex. For more background information on the Department of Energy, visit the AGI Federal Agencies policy page.

For analysis of hearings held by Congress on Energy appropriations, click here.

Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 Department of Energy Appropriations Process

Account

FY09 Enacted
($million)
House Action
($million)
Senate Action
($million)

Department of Energy (total)

33,700
26,400
26,879
27,398
27,111.4

Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

1,447
2,017.6
2,250
2,234
2,242.5

--Geothermal

44
50
50
50
44

--Hydropower

40
30
30
60
50
--Hydrogen
169
68
0
190
174
--Solar
320
259
255
225
--Wind
75
70
85
80
--Biomass
235
235
235
220

Fossil Energy

1,110.2
881.6
617.5
699
672.4

-- Natural Gas Technologies

20
25
25
25
17.8

-- Petroleum - Oil Technology

5
0
0
25
20**
--Clean Coal Power Initiative
288
0*
0*
0*
0*
--Geologic carbon sequestration
150
179
145
160
154
Office of Science
4,757.6
4,941.7
4,944
4,899
4,903.7
--Basic Energy Sciences
1,572
1,685.5
1,675
1,654
1,636.5
---Chemical Sciences, Geosciences, and Energy Biosciences
293.4
338.4
321
0
not specified
--Biological and Environmental Research
601.5
604.2
597
604
604
---Climate Env Sci Research
278.7
285.7
0
285.7
not specified
Environmental Management
5,991.6
5,629.7
--Defense Environmental Clean-up
5,657.2
5,495.8
5,381
5,764
5,642.3

--Non-Defense Environmental Clean-up

281.8
237.5
237.5
260
244.7

---Uranium Enrichment D&D Funding

535.5
559.4
559.4
588
573.8
Civilian Radioactive Waste Management
288.4
196.8
196.8
196.8
196.8

--Nuclear Waste Disposal

145.4
98.4
98.4
98.4
98.4

--Defense Nuclear Waste Disposal

143
98.4
98.4
98.4
98.4

*Zero funding in FY10 is because of $800 million committed for these projects in the ARRA. **Funding for unconventional fossil energy technologies. ***Division has been eliminated and funding now listed under "Research"

President's Request

The Department of Energy (DOE) would receive $26.4 billion in the President's fiscal year 2010 (FY10) budget request, a decrease of $7.3 billion compared to FY09. President Obama called energy one of three areas that are "absolutely critical to our economic future."  The Energy Department received $38.7 billion in one time stimulus funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) and those funds will be used to make up the difference between the FY09 and FY10 budgets plus jump start high priority programs such as ARPA-E.

The FY10 proposal funds three approaches to transformational research and development (R&D) in the energy arena, Energy Innovation Hubs ($280 million), Energy Frontier Research Centers (ERFC) and the newly formed Advanced Energy Research Agency (ARPA-E) ($10 million). Secretary Chu described the eight energy hubs as "little Bell lablets" and said that "we want home runs, but there will be some strike outs" in ARPA-E.

The Energy Department will focus on curbing carbon emissions by improving energy efficiency and developing low carbon energy resources with increases over FY09 for high priority programs. About $475 million would be invested in clean and renewable energy generation R&D, $671 million for energy efficiency, $174 million for electrical grid modernization, $333 million for low-emissions transportation technology, $180 million for clean coal technology and $383 million for advanced nuclear energy.

To improve U.S. competitiveness in a very interconnected world, DOE would initiate a program called RE-ENERGYSE (REgaining our ENERGY Science and Engineering Edge) in cooperation with the National Science Foundation. About $115 million would be devoted to educating thousands of students in K-20 grade levels in energy science and engineering systems. DOE would provide graduate research fellowships, training grants to universities for clean energy R&D, support for universities that expand energy-related research opportunities for undergraduates, support for partnerships with community colleges and others that customize curricula for "green collar" jobs and support to improve public awareness about "the role of science and technology can play in responsible environmental stewardship."

The Office of Science would receive $4,941.6 million, an increase of $184 million over FY09. Among the major initiatives of interest to the geosciences community, the Climate Change Science Program would receive $163.5 million and the Climate Change Technology Program would receive $635.7 million. Basic Energy Sciences, where most geosciences research resides, would receive $1,685.5 million, an increase of $113 million over FY09. Biological and Environmental Research, where most of the climate science research resides, would receive $604 million, an increase of about $2.6 million over FY09.

The Office of Fossil Energy would receive $881.6 million, about $228.6 million less than in FY09. Coal R&D would be funded at $403.8 million about $288.5 million less than FY09. Coal R&D would include significant funding for carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) R&D. CCS would receive $179 million in FY10 for an increase of $29 million over FY09. The Clean Coal Power Initiative would receive no funding in FY10, accounting for the $288 million reduction because ARRA provided $800 million for these initiatives to be spent as soon as possible.

Natural gas R&D would be funded at $25 million, an increase of $5 million over FY09. Petroleum R&D would be terminated and no funds would be provided in FY10. In addition, the Ultra-deep Water and Unconventional Natural Gas and Other Petroleum Research fund, which was created by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and is a mandatory program funded by oil and gas lease revenues, is proposed to be repeal by the Obama Administration through congressional legislation. In addition, all congressionally directed programs in the Office of Fossil Energy would be eliminated for a savings of $43.9 million compared to FY09. Energy Secretary Steven Chu noted that private companies could fund such R&D.

The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy would receive $2,017.6 million, an increase of $570.6 million over FY09. Solar energy, which did not receive any ARRA funds would receive $320 million for a large increase of $145 million over FY09. Wind energy would receive $75 million, an increase of $20 million over FY09 and geothermal would receive $50 million, an increase of $6 million over FY09. The RE-ENERGYSE program would be placed in this office and receive $115 million as a new program a noted above.

DOE is also responsible for nuclear energy, nuclear waste disposal and clean-up of the nation's defense and non-defense nuclear legacy. In fact, the majority of DOE's budget has been devoted to these items for many years and remains so in the FY10 budget proposal of President Obama. The proposal requests some significant reductions, however, including the termination of the Yucca Mountain project.

The Office of Nuclear Energy would receive $845 million in FY10, about $513 million less than in FY09. About $192 million would be for advanced fuel cycle research and $191 million for next generation nuclear power plant R&D. The Radiological Facilities Management program would receive $77 million, including a $30 million increase to re-establish domestic capabilities in radioisotope power systems. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and others have used plutonium-238-based power systems in the past and this funding would allow future development of similar systems.

The Environmental Management program would receive $5.83 billion, about $162 million less than FY09. About $5.5 billion would be for cleanup of defense weapons research and production.

The Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management would receive $196.8 million, about $91.5 million less than FY09. The proposal terminates the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository program except for funds needed to complete the licensing process with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. President Obama plans to convene a blue ribbon panel of experts to "evaluate alternative approaches for meeting the federal responsibility to manage and ultimately dispose of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste from both commercial and defense activities."

For more details about the DOE FY10 budget, please visit the DOE budget website.

For more details about DOE stimulus 2009 funding, please see the AGI DOE Stimulus 2009 web page.

House Action

The House requested $26,879 million for the Department of Energy (DOE), an increase of $86 million over fiscal year 2009 (FY09), but $1,528 million less than the President’s request. The House report (111-203) asks the Department of Energy to develop a five year budget plan for all projects that exceed $100 million and to submit such a plan to Congress by March 1, 2010. The committee believes such a plan would help the Department set priorities and ensure the implementation of long-term projects as well as congressional directives.

The committee was very concerned about the request for $280 million to establish eight Energy Innovation Hubs because the hubs seem to be redundant with the organization and objectives of established programs such as the Energy Frontier Research Centers and the Bioenergy Research Centers and the new Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E). The committee suggested $35 million to establish one energy hub within the Office of Science, Basic Energy Sciences program in an area of the Secretary’s choosing. The House provided no funding for ARPA-E for FY10.

Within the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Office, the House supports $68 million for fuel cell technology, $235 million for biomass, $259 million for solar energy, $70 million for wind energy, $50 million for geothermal and $30 million for water power research. Most of these requests are consistent with the President’s request minus a solar energy innovation hub and about $5 million less for wind energy. Overall the House request would increase funding for these programs compared to FY09.

The House did not provide the $115 million requested for Energy Education and Workforce Training Program (RE-ENERGYSE). Instead they provided $7.5 million for a study of energy education and workforce training that identifies gaps where the DOE can fill in with specific programs. The committee was concerned that the initiative is redundant with programs at the DOE, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Education and the Department of Labor. In particular the report mentions the Department of Education’s request for $31 million for the “graduate assistance in areas of national need” (GAANN). Unfortunately this program removed geological science as an area of national need in 2006 and excludes geosciences, a fundamental component of energy education, in the current program.

The House recommends $617 million for Fossil Energy, the same as the President’s request. About $145 million would be allocated to carbon sequestration research, development and demonstration and about $25 million would be allocated to methane gas hydrates research and development. The House recommended $812 million for Nuclear Energy, about $50 million above the President’s request and $20 million more than FY09.

For the Office of Science, the House recommends $4,945 million, about $2 million more than the President’s request and $171 million more than FY09. The committee provides $597 million for Biological and Environmental Research which includes research on climate change, about $7 million less than the President’s request. About $1,675 million is provided for Basic Energy Sciences (BES), about $10.5 million below the President’s request. Within BES, about $321 million is recommended for Chemical Sciences, Geosciences and Energy Biosciences. The committee also provides $21 million for workforce development for teachers and scientists, the same level as requested by the President.

The House recommends $98 million to terminate the Yucca Mountain waste disposal project and support the Blue Ribbon Commission to study alternatives for nuclear waste disposal. An additional $98 million is provided to conduct the licensing activities of Yucca Mountain with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. By law, DOE must carry out this licensing and only by changing the legislation can Congress or the Administration terminate the licensing process.

The Energy and Water Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee is chaired by Representative Visclosky (D-IN)*. Other members include Representatives Edwards (D-TX), Pastor (D-AZ), Berry (B-AR), Fattah (D-PA), Israel (D-NY), Ryan (D-OH), Olver (D-MA), Davis (D-TN), Salazar (D-CO), Obey (D-WI), Frelinghuysen (R-NJ), Wamp (R-TN), Simpson (R-ID), Rehberg (R-MT), Calvert (R-CA), Alexander (R-LA) and Lewis (R-CA).

*Visclosky has temporarily handed control over to Representative Ed Pastor (D-AZ)

Senate Action

The Senate bill (S.1436) provides $27,398 million for the Department of Energy about $1,000 million less than the President’s request and $500 million more than the House mark.

For the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), the Senate recommends $2,234 million and requests a report assessing the feasibility of each type of renewable energy resource to be deployed by 2030. Unlike the House and the Administration, the Senate recommends $190 million for hydrogen technology for 189 continuing contracts and disagrees with the request to zero-out hydrogen technology funding and pursue fuel cell technologies for only $68 million as requested by the President. The Senate believes fuel cell technology should remain a part of the hydrogen technology program.

The Senate provides $235 million for biomass (with $35 million devoted to algae biofuels), $255 million for solar energy, $85 million for wind energy (more than requested), $50 million for geothermal and $60 million for water power energy (about $30 million more than requested). The Senate, unlike the House and the Administration, recommends an additional $30 million for marine and hydrokinetic R&D and deployment to carry-out section 633 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.

The Senate recommends $699 million for Fossil Energy, about $82 million more than the President’s request and the House mark. About $428 million would be for fuels and power systems research. Of particular note to geoscientists, the committee supports $10 million for university and federal partnerships on R&D related to water and fossil fuel extraction, $5 million for “mercury research” (presumably related to mercury in coal), $5 million for computer modeling of large sequestration projects, $5 million for co-sequestration technology, $25 million for coal liquids and hydrogen fuels research and $160 million for carbon sequestration.

The Senate also supports $25 million for natural gas technologies, including $15 million for methane hydrates and $5 million for research on the mitigation or treatment of produced water as a by-product of natural gas production. Unlike the President and the House, the Senate recommends initiating a new program called unconventional fossil energy technologies for $25 million to replace the terminated oil technologies program. An additional $5 million is recommended for a collaborative program between universities and DOE for R&D on advanced visualizations for unconventional fossil resources.

The Senate recommends $761 million for Nuclear Energy, more than the President’s request, but less than the House. The committee supports a significant increase of $100 million for the Nuclear Power 2010 project, which neither the House nor the Administration requested.

The Senate supports $4,899 million for the Office of Science, less than both the House mark and the President’s request. About $604 million would support Biological and Environmental Research, including climate change research, which equals the President’s request and is more than the House mark. About $1,654 million would support Basic Energy Sciences (BES), about $21 million less than the House mark. About $35 million is set aside for the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR). The report states the program is “funding energy research that will help reduce our dependence on foreign oil”. The Senate supports $21 million for the Workforce Development for Teachers and Scientists program. Like the House, the Senate does not support the President’s request for $115 million for RE-ENERGYSE, an energy education and workforce initiative.

Like the House, thee Senate only offers $98 million for nuclear waste disposal, only enough to cover the licensing application to the Nuclear Regulatory Commisson (NRC). The Senate supports the termination of the Yucca Mountain waste repository and also requests that collection of payments to the Nuclear Waste Fund (now at $22 billion) be stopped.

The Energy and Water Subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee is chaired by Senator Dorgan (D-ND). Other members include Senators Byrd (D-WV), Murray (D-WA), Feinstein (D-CA), Johnson (D-SD), Landrieu (D-LA), Inouye (D-HI), Reed (D-RI), Lautenberg (D-NJ),Cochran (R-MS), McConnell (R-KY), Bennett (R-UT), Bond (R-MO), Hutchison (R-TX).

Conference Committee Action

Congress passed H.R. 3183, the Energy and Water Appropriations Act of 2010 on October 15, 2009. This bill provides funding for the Department of Energy for FY 2010 about a month and half after the start of the fiscal year. President Obama signed the bill into law (Public Law 111-85) on October 28. The conference committee provided a joint explanatory statement to explain their budgetary choices in House Report 111-278.

Legislators split the difference between the House and Senate proposed funding levels for the Department of Energy and provide $27, 111 million in total. This is more than the President's request by about $700 million and includes about $XXX million in congressionally-directed projects. Congress requests a detailed plan on the new Energy Innovation Hubs and requires the Energy Department to get approval from the Appropriations committees before implementing any reprogramming that requires a reallocation of appropriated funds.

The Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Office would see a robust increase of more than $1 billion in FY 2010 compared to FY 2009, with $292 million slated for congressionally-directed projects. The table at the top of this page provides a breakdown on how research funds will be appropriated among renewable energy resources. In most cases, the House and the Senate compromised on their differences and all renewables will receive some funding. RE-ENERGYSE (REgaining our ENERGY Science and Engineering Edge) in cooperation with the National Science Foundation, which the President requested $115 million for, received no funds for FY 2010.

The Office of Fossil Energy would receive about $672 million with about $37 million for congressionally-directed projects. The total budget is about $440 million less than in FY 2009 because the clean coal initiative is not funded in FY 2010. Clean coal received about $800 million in stimulus funds, so no additional funds have been appropriated for FY 2010. There is no direct funding for conventional oil research and development (R&D). Instead Congress provides $20 million for unconventional fossil energy technologies R&D, $10 million for fossil energy environmental restoration and $5 million for a joint program with the Office of Science to improve U.S. capacity to produce domestic unconverntional oil and gas resources and minimize environmental impacts using computer capabilities at universities and industry.

The Office of Science would receive about $4,904 million, an increase of $146 million over FY 2009, but less than the President's request by about $38 milliion. About $77 million of the increase is for congressionally-directed projects.

Within the Global Threat Reduction Initiative, Congress provides $250,000 for the Global Seismographic Network for equipment renewal.

Appropriations Hearings

 

Sources: Department of Energy; Environment and Energy Daily; Greenwire; U.S. House of Representatives; United States Senate; Hearing testimony and Thomas.

Please send any comments or requests for information to the AGI Government Affairs Program at govt@agiweb.org.

Contributed by: Linda Rowan and Corina Cerovski-Darriau, AGI Government Affairs Staff

Last updated June 26, 2009