President Obama backed up his call to “double-down” on clean energy during the State of the Union address by proposing to boost key energy innovation investments in his FY2013 federal budget request. Compared to the FY2012 Omnibus Appropriations bill, the President’s FY2013 proposal would increase top-line investments in key DOE energy innovation-related Offices and programs by 6.98 percent or $578 million. It’s a strong statement of support for developing affordable and viable clean energy technologies at a time when clean energy innovation programs are little more than a political football.
Of course, the FY2013 budget proposal still falls short of FY2010’s peak in energy innovation investments made through the Stimulus and represents only 77 percent of what the President requested for 2012. It’s vital that more work is done to increase public investments in clean energy innovation, as the government must play an energetic role in supporting the development of next-generation technologies. However, the FY2013 budget proposal does envision where targeted public investments can be used to positively impact weaknesses in the energy innovation ecosystem.