In draft Fiscal Year 2021 funding legislation for the Department of Energy (DOE) released today, the House Appropriations Committee increased cybersecurity funding and vowed to save the Advanced Research Projects Agency—Energy (ARPA-E).

For FY2021, the committee is requesting $41 billion for DOE, an increase of $2.3 billion from the FY2020 enacted level. The committee wrote that the increase will aid energy infrastructure modernization to create jobs as the nation recovers from the coronavirus pandemic. President Donald Trump requested $35.4 billion for DOE in FY2021 with plans to eliminate ARPA-E that were sharply rejected by the committee.

“This bill makes critical investments in rebuilding our nation’s water infrastructure to bolster the efficient movement of goods, in funding innovation at the Department of Energy and the jobs that follow, and in combating climate change by moving clean energy technologies to the marketplace,” Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, the chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, and Related Agencies, said. “This bill rejects the President’s drastic, short-sighted cuts across the Army Corps of Engineers, Department of Energy, and Bureau of Reclamation – all of which contribute to our nation’s economic prosperity.”

The bill allocates $160 million toward DOE’s Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response. The funds are $4 million above the FY2020 enacted level, but below the president’s proposal of $185 million for the office to improve early-stage research and development projects that improve cybersecurity and resiliency in the energy supply chain.

While the president proposed eliminating ARPA-E, the House Appropriations Committee’s draft budget increased the agency’s funds $10 million above the FY2020 enacted level. If passed, the committee’s budget would provide ARPA-E with $435 million to support energy technology and security research.

The Office of Science at DOE would receive $7.05 billion to fund basic research projects in energy innovation as a part of the House Appropriation Committee’s draft proposal. This is $50 million above the FY2020 enacted level and over $1 billion more than the initial request.

To mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on the energy sector, the legislation also includes $23.5 billion in emergency funding for DOE. The emergency funding includes $3.35 billion for the resilience and security of the electric grid and $250 million for demonstrations of transformational energy technologies at ARPA-E.

The House Appropriations Committee Energy and Water Development, and Related Agencies Subcommittee will markup the draft legislation tomorrow.

Read More About
More Topics
Katie Malone
Katie Malone
Katie Malone is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.