Recently, the House Appropriations Committee released its fiscal year 2014 Energy and Water Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill (“Energy Bill”). In doing so, it proposed to cut renewable energy research and development spending by approximately $911 million, which is approximately fifty percent (50%) below the fiscal year 2013 level. Additionally, the Energy Bill also reduced proposed funding for Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (“ARPA-E”) by approximately $215 million - equal to 81% of the current year’s level. In total, the Energy bill is approximately $4.1 billion less than President Barack Obama’s request.
What the Energy Bill does include (among other things), however, is funding for research and development for fossil fuel technologies. Specifically, it authorizes $450 million for natural gas, oil, and advanced coal research and development, which the Energy Bill states is to “help the county make greater use of our rich natural energy resources and help keep down energy costs.” In addition, it also includes “$390 million in funding for programs that can help address rising gas prices,” but it does not elaborate or further discuss the programs that will receive such funding.
The Energy Bill, though, must still be voted upon by the House Appropriations Committee. And, not surprisingly, challengers of the proposed Energy Bill have already voiced their opposition. In particular, Dem. Congresswoman Kaptur stated that “the overall allocation is simply too small to adequately address the needs of our nation,” while Dem. Congresswoman Nita Lowey noted that she does not see a “justification for such drastic cuts to investments in renewable energy.” A final vote by the full House Appropriations Committee is expected before the end of the month.