Kaptur Hosts Hearing on Trump Budget Request for Department of Energy Applied Energy Programs

March 3, 2020
Press Release

Washington, D.C. — Today, Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (OH-09), Chairwoman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, held a Subcommittee hearing on the Trump Administration’s FY 2021 budget request for Department of Energy (DOE) applied energy programs.

 

Rep. Kaptur Opening Statement As Prepared For Delivery

 

The Subcommittee will come to order. Let us begin our second hearing on the fiscal year 2021 budget request, for the Department of Energy’s applied energy programs. Thank you to our witnesses for being here.

 

We come together this afternoon to discuss DOE’s applied energy programs, which cover energy efficiency, electric grid modernization and security, and energy technologies such as renewables, nuclear, and fossil. The energy future of our country depends on DOE’s vital investments to achieve breakthroughs to solve our toughest energy challenges. These programs are at the epicenter of those efforts, and past successes of these programs have increased energy security and resulted in the United States becoming a net energy exporter, as shown from the Energy Information Administration.

 

Looking toward fiscal year 2021, however, the Trump Administration again proposes to cut DOE’s budget – this time by an astounding 35 percent in non-defense programs. This will limit America’s future opportunities by drastically reducing or eliminating programs critical for meeting our future energy needs and assuring our security. These programs have received bipartisan, bicameral support precisely because of their crucial role in undergirding our economy and preparing our nation for the future to come – including the clean energy economy. One need look no further than a recent Bureau of Labor Statistics listing of key job categories seeking employees – first on the list is solar installers, like you see pictured – to know that these programs already are major job creators.

 

This budget request also returns to the Trump Administration’s seeming obsession with funding only early-stage research and development (R&D). As I told Secretary Brouillette in last week’s hearing, private industry has repeatedly stated that they would not fund the kind of middle and later stage R&D, including demonstrations, that is being proposed for elimination in this request.

 

Without these critical federal investments, we won’t be able to move early-stage R&D forward and really continue to launch companies to the stage that private investors will pick up the work. Abandoning this research sends a blank check to China and our global competitors. It turns our back on promising research that is critical to reinventing the American energy economy. I am reminded of a quote from Robert Kennedy: “Some people see things as they are and say why? I dream things that never were and say, why not?”

 

These ill-advised cuts are almost too frequent to enumerate. But allow me to point out a few particularly egregious examples:

  • Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy funding – slashed by 74 percent. Wow. Technologies like displayed will all be cut by 76 to 83 percent: Vehicle Technologies, Bioenergy Technologies, Building Technologies, and Advanced Manufacturing.
  • Elimination of the Weatherization Program, which is so pivotal to achieving energy conservation for existing structures and helping lower-income families, including our seniors, to reduce their energy costs.
  • Carbon-free Nuclear Energy R&D – cut by 21 percent.
  • Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage research within Fossil Energy – cut by 44 percent.
  • Resilient Distribution Systems within the Office of Electricity – cut by nearly 60 percent. That program focuses on technologies to ensure the distribution portion of the electric grid can withstand and quickly recover from disruptions. Given the increasing frequency and severity of storms and the potential of increasing cyberattacks, our nation simply cannot cede our future to chance.

 

Unfortunately, once again the President’s budget request harms American leadership and our energy future, our competitiveness, our environment, our workforce, our consumers, and our economy.

 

With that, I’ll close my remarks. Thank you to all of our DOE witnesses for being here today. We look forward discussing this request and adapting it accordingly.

 

WITNESSES:

 

The Honorable Bruce Walker
Assistant Secretary for Electricity

U.S. Department of Energy

 

The Honorable Daniel Simmons
Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

U.S. Department of Energy

 

The Honorable Steven Winberg
Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy

U.S. Department of Energy

 

The Honorable Rita Baranwal
Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy

U.S. Department of Energy

 

Mr. Alexander Gates
Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response

U.S. Department of Energy

 

BACKGROUND:

 

The Trump Administration has proposed $35.4 billion for the Department of Energy, an 8 percent decrease from FY 2020 appropriations. Of this amount, $9.4 billion is proposed for nondefense, a 35 percent decrease from FY 2020.  

 

Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)

Requested at $720 million, $2 billion (74%) below FY 2020.  The request focuses funding on early-stage R&D, leading to reductions from FY 2020 levels for each program office, including Vehicle Technologies, Bioenergy Technologies, Advanced Manufacturing, and Building Technologies. The budget request eliminates the Weatherization Assistance Program (funded at $305 million in FY 2020) and the State Energy Program (funded at $62.5 million in FY 2020).

 

Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response (CESER)

Requested at $184.6 million, $28.6 million (18%) above FY 2020. The increase is focused on scaling up current activities, particularly for additional technical assistance to regional, state, and local entities.

 

Office of Electricity (OE)

Requested at $195 million, $5 million (3%) above FY 2020. Increased funding is included for construction of the Grid Storage Launchpad to test battery technologies and for an increased emphasis on research related to protecting defense critical energy infrastructure. The request decreases funding for resilient distribution systems.

Nuclear Energy (NE)

Requested at $1.18 billion, $313 million (21%) below FY 2020. Increases are included for Nuclear Energy Enabling Technologies, the Versatile Test Reaction project, and Radiological Facilities Management; decreases are proposed for Reactor Concepts RD&D, Fuel Cycle Research and Development, the Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program, and national laboratory operations and infrastructure funding.

 

Fossil Energy (FE) R&D

Requested at $731 million, $19 million (3%) below FY 2020. Notwithstanding proposed structure changes, increases are included for Advanced Energy Systems, including Coal FIRST, and Cross-cutting Research, including critical minerals. Decreases are proposed for Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage; STEP; Transformational Coal Pilots; Natural Gas Technologies; Unconventional Fossil Energy Technologies; and national laboratory operations and infrastructure funding.

 

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kaptur.house.gov