The tragedy is that the riskiest investments in basic science — the first building block of a new energy future — are stalling.
The Energy Department’s budget for research, development and demonstration remains stuck at some $5 billion, roughly the same level of half a decade ago.
At barely 2 percent of the federal government’s total research and development budget, it pales next to other countries’ efforts. China, for instance, spends a fifth of its government research budget on energy.
“A step-change in the United States’ commitment to federal energy innovation is critical,” noted a report released in February by the American Energy Innovation Council. “Any serious business leader would recognize that the country needs to take advantage of its current strength and act now to create a clean energy future.”