October 28, 2019

Van Hollen, Alexander Introduce Legislation to Reauthorize ARPA-E, Increase Funding for Advanced Energy Research and Development

U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) have announced the introduction of their bipartisan legislation to reauthorize funding for the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (ARPA-E). ARPA-E works to advance high-potential, high-impact energy technologies in the early stages of development. The bill would increase funding levels from $428 million in Fiscal Year 2020 to $750 million in Fiscal Year 2024 to fund more ARPA-E projects. To date, the program has only been able to support one percent of the proposals submitted for its Open Funding Opportunity Announcements and 12 percent of the proposals submitted for its Focused Funding Opportunity Announcements. Maryland is home to 20 programs that have received support from ARPA-E and Tennessee is home to 21.

“ARPA-E provides crucial investments in cutting-edge energy research to develop innovative ways to address pressing environmental and national security challenges. This boost in funding is absolutely essential to ensure that America leads the world in the development of clean energy technologies, which will generate thousands of good-paying, home-grown jobs. Our current investments in clean energy research do not begin to match the urgency of the need to confront the rising damage caused by climate change. That’s why this legislation should be a priority,” said Senator Van Hollen 

“Earlier this year, I proposed a New Manhattan Project for Clean Energy, a five year project with Ten Grand Challenges to create breakthroughs in advanced nuclear reactors, natural gas, carbon capture, better batteries, greener buildings, electric vehicles, cheaper solar and fusion. This bill would put us on a path toward creating these breakthroughs by working towards doubling funding for ARPA-E’s high potential, high-impact research,” Senator Alexander said. “We must be careful not to lose the advantages we’ve gained through government-sponsored research. Building off of America COMPETES, which created ARPA-E, I look forward to working with Senator Van Hollen and my colleagues to make sure researchers have support to maintain our nation’s global competitiveness.”

Dr. Laurie Locascio, the Vice President for Research at the University of Maryland, said, “On behalf of the University of Maryland, College Park, I would like to thank Senator Van Hollen for introducing the ARPA-E Reauthorization Act.  Since the agency launched in 2009, the University of Maryland and the state of Maryland have consistently ranked among the top recipients of ARPA-E funding.  On our campus, APRA-E has supported projects that have the potential to be game changers in the clean energy economy.  The APRA-E Reauthorization Act will provide the funding needed to accelerate these transformative energy technologies to the market and significantly alter our energy use, storage, and infrastructure across the U.S.”

“The Department of Energy ARPA-E program has played an important role in accelerating our nation’s transition to a clean energy future by advancing high-risk, high-reward concepts that previously lacked federal or private sector support. As part of our effort to move towards a 100% clean economy, we need to continue promoting this type of innovation. That will require increasing ARPA-E’s funding. EDF thanks Senators Chris Van Hollen & Lamar Alexander for introducing the bipartisan Senate ARPA-E Reauthorization Act of 2019,” said Elizabeth Gore, Environmental Defense Fund Senior Vice President for Political Affairs.

A copy of The ARPA-E Reauthorization Act of 2019 can found here, and a one-pager on the bill is available here.