Plans and Priorities
The United States is committed to supporting the development of affordable and reliable energy as a foundation for economic growth and energy security. Indeed, reliable, affordable energy goes hand in hand with a strong economy. Innovation in science and technology has been a cornerstone of America’s economic progress. The private sector funds and performs the majority of U.S. R&D, but the Federal government has an important role in funding R&D in areas that industry does not have a strong incentive to invest.
Over the past 25 years, U.S. emissions have declined while the U.S. economy grew 80%. To a large extent, this decoupling of emissions from economic growth is the result of technology innovations that improved energy performance while cutting costs—from supply to end use.
Commitment to innovation
Innovation continues to be a top priority for the United States through both strategic public funding for early-stage R&D and strong private sector investment to support the development and commercialization of the most promising ideas. Novel technologies open fresh avenues to expand domestic energy supplies and drive down energy costs. Broad access to affordable and reliable energy will further stimulate economic growth—bringing jobs and prosperity to millions of U.S. consumers and businesses and throughout the global economy.
Many of the most innovative technologies shaping global energy markets today can trace their origins to public investments in basic science, exploratory research, and early-stage technology development. Innovations arising from these investments have created new technologies and lowered their cost, which in turn have had transformative effects on whole industries.
The Department of Energy’s National Laboratories have worked with American universities, research institutions and industry partners, and international collaborators around the world, to push the frontiers of basic science and research. They explore novel concepts to meet high-priority national needs. They discover new knowledge, share it with private partners, and create a wellspring of ideas that help spur technological breakthroughs.
The U.S. government plans to continue to support investments in early-stage research to advance energy technology innovation. The outcomes are expected to feed the innovation pipeline, stimulate entrepreneurs, attract investors, and enable U.S. companies to secure leadership positions in global energy markets. The United States seeks to nurture an efficient research enterprise that will realize the overarching goals of Mission Innovation, namely, to make clean and advanced energy technology widely accessible and affordable worldwide.
Role of the private sector
The U.S. government is committed to responsible spending. Strategic public funding in early-stage research and development (R&D) will be designed to feed innovation that unlocks the ingenuity of the private sector. Publicly-supported research should focus on the creation of new knowledge and discovery. The private sector is best positioned to evaluate the commercial potential of energy technology advancements and therefore must identify, evaluate, and carry innovations forward to commercialization. Investors and businesses will finance and commercialize innovative technologies, turning promising research into transformative products scaled for entry into diverse energy markets.
Public-private partnerships are also effective ways to accelerate innovation. Working with private partners and multidisciplinary teams facilitates rapid commercialization. Such partnerships leverage the expertise and efficiencies of the private sector while mitigating government risk. Ultimately, these activities can help strengthen, transform, and improve the energy infrastructure, increasing access to reliable, secure, affordable, and flexible sources of energy.
The United States will continue working with other countries that are members of Mission Innovation. Like many other members, the United States is a vast country with varied geography, weather patterns, and resources. The most effective technology for one region may differ from that which is most effective in another. Ensuring that energy research collaborations are mutually beneficial will advance the energy security and economic interests of the United States and other Mission Innovation members. Cutting-edge energy technologies that unleash America’s full energy potential in all its forms will not only strengthen energy security and grow the global economy; it will also foster a stable, more secure global energy market. Innovative ideas can help the world transition into a more sustainable, secure, and prosperous energy future.
The funding of energy-related research and development programs are currently under review by the new Administration. The priority for U.S. energy research efforts will be to advance knowledge through early-stage research that is unlikely to be undertaken by the private sector. Both the public and the private sector play complementary and dynamic roles in driving innovation and revolutionizing markets. The U.S. budget reflects an increased reliance on the private sector to fund later-stage research, development, and commercialization of energy technologies and will refocus resources on early-stage R&D.