Since its inception in 2010, the American Energy Innovation Council (AEIC) has developed a disruptive policy agenda to create a secure, clean, and modern U.S. energy system through investments in energy innovation. The past few years have seen monumental steps forward on this agenda with Congress passing the Energy Act of 2020, Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act (IIJA), CHIPS and Science Act, and Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). Collectively, these bills have realized the comprehensive policy vision that AEIC members have called for over the past decade.
We’re proud to share the AEIC 2023 U.S. Energy Innovation Report Card, showcasing the nation’s progress on energy innovation in this new era. Of the 12 key recommendations AEIC members have called for over the past decade, every recommendation has either been fulfilled or is on track, as summarized below. While more work remains to ensure the successful implementation of these programs to get energy technologies to commercial scale, this is an important milestone for our nation’s commitment to investing in energy innovation.
Download the AEIC 2023 U.S. Energy Innovation Report Card here.
RECOMMENDATION 1: Supercharge federal funding for clean energy innovation.1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10
Status: ON TRACK
AEIC recommended annual federal R&D funding of $16 billion, scaling up to $25 billion by fiscal year (FY) 2025. In the FY2023 appropriations bill, Congress provided DOE with around $23 billion for R&D activities, meeting AEIC’s recommendation and putting the United States on the path to proposed FY2025 funding levels.
RECOMMENDATION 2: Fund high-impact demonstration projects.1, 5, 8, 9, 10
AEIC called for the establishment of a new program to build large-scale pilot projects and accelerate commercialization of advanced energy technologies with funding of $20 billion. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act created OCED to select, fund, and manage demonstration projects with initial funding of $21 billion.
RECOMMENDATION 3: Accelerate efforts to support startups and commercialize DOE R&D investments.10
Status: ON TRACK
AEIC recommended increased funding and authorities for the DOE Office of Technology Transitions (OTT). The Energy Act of 2020 and CHIPS and Science Act of 2022 authorized over $100 million annually for OTT to support energy startups and entrepreneurs and to catalyze the commercial impact of DOE R&D investments. OTT has made significant progress on this mission and can further its impact with additional appropriations.
RECOMMENDATION 4: Modernize energy infrastructure to better integrate new energy technologies.8
AEIC called for the modernization of the U.S. energy system to support deployment of new commercial energy technologies. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) provided $4.5 billion for grid and broadband upgrades that increase resiliency, efficiency, and connect new clean energy projects to the grid.
RECOMMENDATION 5: Boost funding for ARPA-E.1, 2, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11
Status: ON TRACK
AEIC recommended annual appropriations of $1 billion for ARPA-E. The CHIPS and Science Act of 2022 authorized $1 billion for ARPA-E. While appropriations for the agency have recently increased to $470 million in FY2023, more progress is needed to reach AEIC’s goal.
RECOMMENDATION 6: Establish regionally-centered innovation programs. 8, 9
AEIC called for the establishment of energy innovation programs in diverse regions of the country. The CHIPS and Science Act of 2022 established key programs at the Department of Commerce and Department of Energy to foster innovation ecosystems in diverse regions of the United States.
RECOMMENDATION 7: Leverage public procurement to create early market demand for innovative energy technologies.10
Status: ON TRACK
AEIC called for the establishment of a public procurement program to create early market demand for
innovative energy technologies. The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 provided the General Service Administration with $2.15 billion to procure low-carbon construction materials and an additional $975 million for innovative sustainable technologies for buildings. Additionally, in the FY2023 appropriations omnibus Congress directed DOE to establish a competitive purchasing pilot program for carbon dioxide removal (CDR). A procurement program specifically targeting additional sectors could help establish new markets for innovative emission-reduction technologies and DOE has been exploring the use of demand-side tools for other sectors.
RECOMMENDATION 8: Modernize DOE’s organizational structure to accelerate commercialization.2, 5, 8, 9
AEIC recommended an update to DOE’s organizational structure to adopt a portfolio approach to risk and create smoother transitions between DOE programs. In late 2021, DOE underwent a substantial reorganization to tie together its energy scaleup programs under a new Undersecretary for Infrastructure. Citing the 2022 AEIC report, DOE placed the Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations (OCED) and Loan Programs Office (LPO) under new leadership to share expertise and closely integrate the programs’ execution.
RECOMMENDATION 9: Provide strategic direction for the U.S. energy system.1, 2, 5, 8, 9, 10
Status: ON TRACK
AEIC recommended the development of a national energy strategy to assess the effectiveness of energy policies and establish a coherent framework for the development of new energy technologies. DOE has undertaken a variety of sectoral studies to provide strategic direction for the agency’s activities. For example, in 2015, DOE released its first Quadrennial Energy Review (QER), which focuses on energy infrastructure and government-wide energy policy and has followed up sector-specific deep-dives including an Industrial Decarbonization Roadmap and National Hydrogen Strategy. DOE also developed the Pathways for Commercial Liftoff reports to develop Department-wide strategies for commercialization of key technologies, in collaboration with the private sector. AEIC applauds these efforts.
RECOMMENDATION 10: Support creative public-private partnerships to advance commercialization of energy technologies.8
AEIC recommended the creation of a nonprofit foundation for energy that could work with DOE to foster collaboration between the national laboratories, academia, regulators, investors, and industry to advance energy technology commercialization. The CHIPS and Science Act of 2022 established the Foundation for Energy Security and Innovation (FESI), a nonprofit foundation that leverages private dollars to accelerate the commercialization of energy technologies in partnership with DOE.
RECOMMENDATION 11: Modernize energy tax provisions to support nascent energy technologies.6, 10
AEIC called for Congress to create and expand tax provisions in order to support the early commercial deployment of new energy technologies. The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 expanded existing tax credits and created new tax credits for the production of clean energy and investment in clean energy technologies.
RECOMMENDATION 12: Support creative R&D centers.1, 2, 5, 7, 9
AEIC called for the creation of Centers of Excellence in Energy Innovation to utilize creative arrangements to invest in transformational R&D that are linked closely to private sector efforts. Congress has authorized and DOE has established Energy Innovation Hubs, Energy Frontier Research Centers, and Manufacturing USA institutes that have received robust bipartisan support and funding, allowing them to accelerate the research and development of innovative energy technologies.
- A Business Plan for America’s Energy Future (June 2010)
- Catalyzing Ingenuity (Sept 2011)
- Unleashing Private Sector Energy R&D (Jan 2013)
- Partners in Ingenuity: Case Studies on the Role of Government in Energy Technology Innovation (July 2014)
- Restoring American Energy Innovation Leadership: Report Card, Challenges, and Opportunities (Feb 2015)
- The Impact of Three Tax-Reform Proposals on the Financial Performance of Energy Plants (Sep 2015)
- U.S. Energy R&D Architecture: Discreet Roles of Major Innovation Institutions (Mar 2016)
- The Power of Innovation: Inventing the Future (June 2017)
- Energy Innovation: Fueling America’s Economic Engine (Nov 2018)
- Energy Innovation: Supporting Full Innovation Lifecycle (Feb 2020)
- Scaling Innovation: A Proposed Framework for Scaling Energy Demonstrations & Early Deployment (Jan 2022)