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Department Of Energy: Funding for Office of Science is up

by Jeff Johnson
February 3, 2014 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 92, Issue 5

Under the fiscal 2014 omnibus appropriations law, Congress provides $26.5 billion for the Department of Energy, spread over five areas—science, energy, environment, nuclear nonproliferation, and national security. This budget level is $1.3 billion above the 2013 postsequester budget, but $1.7 billion below President Barack Obama’s 2014 funding request for the agency.

DOE’s Office of Science will receive $5.1 billion, some 9% more than the office received in the 2013 postsequester budget.

The largest slice goes to basic energy sciences (BES) research, which will receive $1.7 billion, nearly 7% more than last year’s allocation. A bit more than half of BES funding supports scientific facilities operated and maintained by DOE, most of which are user facilities. Another $100 million supports DOE’s university-based Energy Frontier Research Centers.

Two DOE “hubs,” one for bio­fuels and one for energy storage, will each receive $24 million from the BES budget. A third hub for DOE’s critical materials energy innovation research will get $25 million, which is part of a $181 million allocation to support advanced manufacturing technologies.

The Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) will receive $280 million. The innovative research program funding level is $100 million less than the Administration’s request, but 11.2% more than it received in 2013 post sequestration. This congressional show of support is noteworthy as some lawmakers have pushed to limit funding for the program.

Energy efficiency and renewable energy programs are set at $1.9 billion, 10.3% more than in 2013 post sequestration. The largest research-related item is vehicle technology R&D at $290 million, closely followed by solar research at $257 million, and bioenergy technologies at $232 million. All are below the Administration’s request.

In other areas within DOE, the omnibus law provides $889 million for nuclear energy programs, about 20% higher than last year’s funding. Of this amount, $110 million supports small modular reactor licensing and $150 million more is directed to reactor-related R&D. Another $186 million funds fuel-cycle R&D with a focus on safer and accident-tolerant nuclear fuels.

Fossil-energy R&D will receive $562 million, 30.9% more than Obama’s request and 75.6% more than the 2013 postsequester level. Most of the funds, $392 million, will focus on carbon capture and storage technologies.



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