07.10.14

Reps. Schiff and Polis Secure $20 Million in Additional Funding in Appropriations Bill for Cutting-Edge Energy Program

Washington, DC –Today, Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Jared Polis (D-CO) passed an amendment to the Energy and Water Appropriations bill which would boost funding for the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) by $20 million, to a total of $300 million a year.  Started in 2009, ARPA-E is a revolutionary program that advances high-potential, high-impact energy technologies, leveraging federal funds to generate additional private sector investment.  Schiff offered similar amendments in 2011 and 2013, both of which were successful, and this one passed by a vote of 216-206.

ARPA-E is modeled after the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which has produced famously successful inventions for the Department of Defense, perhaps most notably the Internet. ARPA-E’s rigorous program design, competitive project selection process, and active program management ensures that our taxpayer dollars are being used wisely. In the few short years of its existence, the program has funded 362 projects. And these project investments have paid off. Since 2009, twenty-two project teams have leveraged the ARPA-E’s investment of approximately $95 million dollars into $625 million dollars in private sector capital.

“This is a very important investment for an agency whose work is helping reshape our economy. That a majority of the House has, for the third time, voted for an amendment to increase funding for ARPA-E shows the strong  bipartisan support for the type of research this innovative agency fosters,” said Rep. Schiff. “If we are serious about staying at the forefront of the energy revolution, then we must continue to invest in the kind of cutting-edge research ARPA-E supports. By providing the additional funding through our amendment today, we will send a clear signal that America intends to lead that revolution. While other programs focus on funding technologies that can be deployed soon, ARPA-E focuses on the high-risk, high-reward technologies that have the capacity to completely remake our society and economy.”

“As an entrepreneur, I understand how difficult it can be to secure funding for innovative early stage technologies, so I am thrilled that the House voted on a bipartisan basis to increase funding for ARPA-E,” said Rep. Polis. “This critical program brings together forward thinking private investors to create jobs, help our economy, and move us toward energy security and independence.” 

The bill originally provided $280 million for ARPA-E, which was significantly below the Administration’s request for $325 million.  This increase in funding for ARPA-E is fully paid for with a reduction in the Department Administration account.