This year the Dept. of Energy is budgeted to spend over $26 billion. But that's not enough, say a group of company CEOs ranging from Microsoft's Bill Gates to GE's Jeffery Immelt. They recently spoke out in favor of a big boost in the funding of energy innovation by creating an independent national energy strategy board, investing $16 billion annually in clean energy innovation, creation of centers of excellence with strong domain expertise, funding ARPA-E to the tune of $1 billion annually, and establishment of a New Energy Challenge Program to build projects.
The CEOs recommend the creation of a congressionally mandated Energy Strategy Board charged with developing and monitoring a National Energy Plan for Congress and the executive branch and having oversight of what would be called a New Energy Challenge Program. They say the board should be external to the U.S. government, should include experts in energy technologies and associated markets, and should be politically neutral.
The CEOs also claim that $16 billion per year – an increase of $11 billion over current annual investments of about $5 billion – is the minimum level required to do what they have in mind. They say this funding should be set with multi-year commitments, managed according to well-defined performance goals, focused on technologies that can achieve significant scale, and be freed from political interference and earmarking.
The New Energy Challenge they suggest would be a program to fund, build and accelerate the commercialization of such advanced energy technologies as fourth-generation nuclear power and carbon capture and storage coal plants. They say the program should be structured as a partnership between the federal government and the energy industry, and should operate as an independent corporation outside of the federal government. It should focus on the transition from pre-commercial, large-scale energy systems to integrated, full-size system tests.
You can download a copy of their report from this page: http://www.americanenergyinnovation.org/