Member Participation

United States

Narrative

The United States—and other leading nations—recognize the serious nature and significant scale of the energy-related challenges facing our global future, including energy security, reduced pollution, access to electricity for the more than 1 billion people who currently lack it, and reduced emissions needed to avert the worst impacts of climate change. Meeting these challenges on a global scale will require significantly increased and innovative effort to develop clean energy technologies and reduce their costs so that they can become widely accessible and affordable.

That is why, in November 2015, President Obama and other world leaders came together in Paris to launch Mission Innovation, a landmark commitment to reinvigorate and accelerate public clean energy innovation. Through the initiative, 22 countries and the European Union, representing 80 percent or more of the world’s public investment in clean energy research and development (R&D), have agreed to seek to double their public investments in this domain over five years. The additional resources will accelerate the emergence and availability of advanced technologies, which will, in turn, enable an energy future that is clean, affordable, and reliable.

Based on existing technologies and policies, the United States is well on its way to meeting its emission reduction goals of 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. However, if the longer-term goal of the recent and historic Paris Agreement (2015) is to be realized, that is, to stay “well below 2 degrees C”, it will require a sustained strategy of “deep decarbonization” across all aspects of energy production, transformation and use. With the advent of new and affordable clean energy technology, accelerated and greater decarbonization can be supported—including ambitious trajectories of at least 80 percent emission reductions by 2050.

Funding Programs

In the United States, Mission Innovation clean energy R&D investments span multiple federal agencies—12 agencies in the FY 2017 Budget with the largest share at the U.S. Department of Energy—and cover the spectrum of clean energy technologies. The U.S. portfolio encompasses research, development, and demonstration of energy-related hardware, software, and systems that avoid, reduce, or sequester greenhouse gas emissions or other air pollutants, including technologies that convert, convey, or store energy resources; improve energy efficiency; or reduce energy consumption. This multi-faceted, government-wide approach is both essential to and reflective of how significantly energy is implicated in the missions of multiple federal agencies. Successful U.S. implementation of Mission Innovation means each agency brings its unique perspective on clean energy innovation and its unique capabilities to facilitate targeted and creative solutions.

In addition, mobilizing private-sector investment continues to be a key component of U.S. clean energy innovation strategy, such as through the 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.

Baseline and Doubling Plan

In February 2016, the President laid out his proposal to double federal investment in clean energy R&D from $6.4 billion in the baseline fiscal year (FY) 2016 to $12.8 billion in FY 2021. 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 proposal provides $7.7 billion in discretionary funding for clean energy R&D, which is approximately 20 percent above the FY 2016 level.

This investment portfolio covers the full range of research and development activities—from use-inspired basic research to demonstration.

U.S Focus areas for MI

Mission Innovation investments include:

Department of Energy (DOE). About 76 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, supporting research on energy-intensive and energy-dependent manufacturing, platform technologies, and integration with renewable energy resources;
  • Over $880 million in cutting-edge sustainable transportation technologies to increase the affordability and convenience of advanced vehicles and domestic renewable fuels, with a focus on low-carbon fuels, vehicle efficiency, and energy-efficient mobility systems;
  • 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, and includes funding for the Energy Frontier Research Center program to accelerate transformative discovery and for advanced scientific computing research to develop ‘exascale’ capabilities;
  • 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 the current fleet of light water reactors, Nuclear Science User Facilities, 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 of carbon capture  and storage (CCS) technologies to reduce cost and enable widespread deployment, supporting research on access, transport, and safety related to carbon capture; efficiency of thermal systems integrated with CCS; and 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. Examples include research related to the generation, harvesting, manufacture, storage, distribution, efficiency, and management of innovative renewable and alternative energy sources and systems for electricity (solar, wind, wave, geothermal etc.) and fuels (chemical and biofuels).

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. For example, to help facilitate aviation community progress toward an ambitious goal of 50% reduction in aviation CO2 emissions by mid-century, NASA is pursuing very advanced research and technology that could enable energy efficiency gains of 50%-60% compared to current state-of-the-art aircraft. NASA is also exploring new low-carbon propulsion systems, specifically electrified aircraft propulsion concepts, which could enable partial electrification of the aviation energy system.

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). The Budget provides $25 million for a new R&D effort at USAID through the U.S. Global Development Lab and the Global Climate Change Initiative that will support developing countries’ engagement in Mission Innovation, a global public and private endeavor to reinvigorate and accelerate clean energy innovation, to provide a pathway to affordable energy for the developing world. USAID will help developing countries design, incubate, and accelerate clean energy technologies that can be scaled into “bankable projects” that enhance and connect energy demand from developing countries to R&D supply, and to entrepreneurs, investors, and businesses that have joined to invest patient capital in early-stage technology development coming out of Mission Innovation countries.

Department of Transportation (DOT). The Budget includes $47 million for DOT’s clean energy R&D across multiple transportation modes.  Examples include alternative fuels and propulsion system R&D for locomotives through the Federal Railroad Administration and the Continuous Lower Energy, Emissions and Noise Aircraft Technologies initiative funded through the Federal Aviation Administration, which supports accelerating the development of environmentally promising aircraft technologies and sustainable alternative fuels.  Also included is a new effort to evaluate prospects for emissions reduction activities at major ports, covering port operations, landside interfaces, and potential for new marine freight routes. This research effort will identify specific emissions-reducing maritime-related projects with benefits that exceed costs that are suitable for funding from diverse private, State/Local, or Federal sources. As part of this effort, DOT will provide grants for a few site-specific feasibility studies or small matching grants to co-finance pilots to demonstrate emerging technologies, or catalyze projects stymied by institutional barriers.

Department of Commerce (DOC). The Budget provides $55 million for clean energy R&D at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), including important tools and standards development.   For example, DOC funds the development of tools needed for assuring safe commercial production, storage, distribution, and delivery of several energy sources and methods and tools for evaluating the life-cycle performance of building products.

Recent Highlight

The United States will be releasing a compelling framework for U.S. Mission Innovation investments that promotes openness to new technologies, paths, and program designs as well as opportunities to fill white spaces where little-to-no research has currently been funded. The flexibility of this framework is a recognition that any portfolio must take into account the swift advancement in the clean energy innovation ecosystem and distributed nature of, and creativity required for, breakthrough technology advancement. In this framework the United States recognizes the need for a strong, multi-faceted approach that 1) provides additional resources to successful and effective existing activities; 2) expands the foundation of knowledge in all sectors; 3) supports accelerated translation of technology through the phases of R&D; 4) shakes up the path-dependencies (i.e., disrupts the narrow focus on incremental milestone-oriented progress of technology advancements) to better enable breakthrough solutions; and 5) builds strong linkages across disciplines and users to enhance the relevance and utility of results.

Baseline and Doubling Plans

  • Country-Determined Baseline Year(s): FY 2016
  • Baseline Funding Amount: USD $6.415 billion
  • Doubling Target-Year: FY 2021
  • Doubling Target Amount: USD $12.830 billion
  • First-Year of Mission Innovation Funding Increment: FY 2017 (proposed)
  • First-Year Mission Innovation Funding Amount: USD $7.7 billion (proposed)
  • First-Year Mission Innovation Funding Increment: USD $1.3 billion (proposed)
  • First-Year Funding Percent Increase: 20% (proposed)

Methodology for Determining Baseline

Baseline is composed of the Mission Innovation related parts of enacted appropriations for Fiscal Year 2016 (base year), as identified among selected line-items of clean energy RD&D itemized in separate table, across the U.S. Department of Energy, and like‐budget tables of other Federal agencies.

Country-Definition of Clean Energy R&D Investment

Research, development, and demonstration of energy-related hardware, software, systems, or practices that avoid, reduce, or sequester greenhouse gas emissions or other air pollutants. This includes technologies that convert, convey, or store energy resources, improve energy efficiency, or reduce energy consumption. Investments are implemented through a number of mechanisms including cost–shared projects with the private sector, research and development activities at the National Laboratories, grants to universities, and support for collaborative research centers targeted to key energy technology frontiers.

Overview of Clean Energy R&D Focus Areas Emphasized in Mission Innovation Portfolio

Industry & buildings

 

Vehicles & other transportation

 

Bio-based fuels & energy

 

Solar, wind & other renewables

 

Nuclear energy

 

Hydrogen & fuel cells

 

Cleaner fossil energy

 

CO2 capture, utilization & storage

 

Electricity grid

 

Energy storage

 

Basic energy research

 

Indicators are for key areas of Mission Innovation R&D investment but do not imply a comprehensive representation of a country’s full R&D portfolio.

Additional Information

Budget

Mission Innovation in the FY 2017 President’s Budget

The FY 2017 President’s Budget reflects the strength of the U.S. Government (USG) commitment to Mission Innovation (MI). The Budget includes information on the USG MI clean energy pledge baseline, target, and potential trajectory. It also provides background on MI as well as highlights of clean energy R&D activities across the USG.

The Administration included discussion of MI in several volumes of the FY 2017 President’s Budget to ensure the message reaches a variety of stakeholders. These references are summarized below.

Background, Pledge Summaries, and FY 2017 Details

Main Budget Volume

This document includes summaries of the MI initiative and the USG commitment to seek a doubling of clean energy R&D funding over five years, including the government-wide FY 2016 baseline, FY 2021 target, and funding level in the FY 2017. The text can be found on pages 19-20 of the Main Budget Volume.

Research and Development Chapter, Analytical Perspectives Volume

This document includes an MI initiative summary and information on the FY 2017 Budget funding for clean energy research, development/demonstration, and deployment, of which Mission Innovation funding is a subset. (Clean energy research and development/demonstration funding is part of the MI doubling pledge but clean energy deployment funding is not.) The text can be found on the first page of the Analytical Perspectives Volume Research and Development chapter, page 299 of the overall document.

Initial Pledge Trajectory

The Administration embedded in the FY 2017 Budget an initial five-year clean energy pledge funding trajectory in the “outyear” estimates (funding estimates for years beyond FY 2017). While budgetary decisions are generally made year-by-year for activities like R&D, the Administration specifies outyear levels for some individual efforts, like Mission Innovation, to demonstrate our commitment and acknowledge the costs associated with it. This action shows that clean energy R&D funding is a high priority within the planned funding over the next five years.

The initial trajectory presented in the FY 2017 Budget is preliminary and should not be interpreted as pre-approved future funding levels for any particular USG agency/department or program. Funding levels will be revisited each year through the annual Budget formulation and appropriation processes and modifications will be made as needed.

As a result of budget structure requirements and other factors, there is no single place in the Budget where the individual MI outyear targets for FY 2018-FY 2021 are shown in full. A portion of the funding for these outyears is incorporated in individual accounts in agencies across the government that conduct clean energy R&D and the remaining funding needed to reach the FY 2018-FY 2021 pledge trajectory targets is captured in two placeholder accounts.

Taking the individual account assumptions and the placeholder accounts together, the initial pledge funding trajectory assumed in the FY 2017 Budget is as shown in the following table:

FY16 Enacted FY17 Budget FY18 FY19 FY20 FY21
Gov’t wide total clean energy RD&D funding 6.4 7.7 8.8 9.9 11.3 12.8

 

Clean Energy R&D Appropriations in Support of Mission Innovation Pledge: Department of Energy Only, by Office

Note: The decrease in nuclear energy funding is due to an increased focus on small modular reactor (SMR) licensing and technical support, which is outside the scope of Mission Innovation.

Mission Innovation Webinar:

Accelerating Clean Energy Innovation in the United States, June 2016

Remarks at Launch Event:

President Barack Obama (text) (video)

Related sites:

White House

Department of Energy

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