02/07/15 : Reed Brown

President Obama's FY2016 Budget Request Highlights Importance of Energy Efficiency

On Monday, President Obama released his Budget Request for FY 2016. The request outlines some impressive goals and highlights the President’s priorities for the remainder of his term. We are very pleased to see that one of these priorities is the commitment to doubling the nation’s energy productivity by 2030, as evidenced by his proposed budgets for programs that support energy efficiency.

The FY2016 Request calls for a marked increase in funding for energy efficiency programs at the Department of Energy (DOE). Recognizing that cutting energy waste is one of the cleanest and most cost-effective ways to grow the economy and create jobs, the President has requested robust funding for programs within DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). The President is asking for an $800 million increase, a 42% jump over FY 2015 funding levels, for EERE. This is the largest dollar increase among all DOE energy offices. Several programs are significantly boosted in the request, including:

  • Advanced Manufacturing – more than doubled 
  • Smart Grid R&D – up 94%
  • Federal Energy Management Program – a 60% increase
  • Vehicle Technologies – a 59% increase

The Housing and Urban Development Department’s (HUD) budget request for FY2016 would support greater adoption of energy efficiency measures. The Public Housing Operating Fund $4.6 billion request includes a Utility Conservation pilot program to encourage and make it easier for small public housing authorities to invest in water and energy conservation measures. There is also language to authorize a budget-neutral performance-based energy conservation program for up to 20,000 housing units for Project-Based Rental Assistance.

The FY2016 request also calls for the creation of a $4 billion Clean Power State Incentive Fund at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to support implementation of President’s Clean Power Plan and create incentives for states to go beyond the requirements of the Plan.

Energy efficiency is our nation’s most abundant energy source. Without the economy-wide improvements in energy efficiency made since 1973, it is estimated that today’s economy would require 60% more energy than we use now. Furthermore, those improvements produced energy savings in 2012 that exceeded the energy produced by conventional energy sources like oil, natural gas and coal. The energy productivity of the U.S. economy — the amount of gross domestic product (in inflation adjusted dollars) per unit of energy consumed  — has increased by 50% over the past three decades. The economic productivity improvements over this period reduced our national energy bill by about $700 billion. 

Energy efficiency offers solutions that save consumers and businesses money, improve industrial competitiveness, stimulate technological innovation, alleviate stress to the electric grid and water infrastructure, strengthen energy reliability and security and reduce pollution. We are excited that President Obama has requested such robust funding for energy efficiency and we urge Congress to support this budget request. 

For more information about the President's Budget Request for DOE, please check out the Alliance's updated budget chart.