Senate Votes to Include Schatz's Energy Research Funding Amendment in Bipartisan Energy Bill

Schatz Amendment Authorizes a $147 Million Increase for ARPA-E Over Five Years

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Senate today voted 55-37 to include an amendment to the Energy Policy Modernization Act that will authorize increased funding for energy science and technology research.  The amendment, offered by U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i), will boost funding for the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E), an agency within the Department of Energy tasked with funding energy technology projects that help the United States compete, prosper, and remain a world leader. 

“Innovation in advanced energy technologies can be a significant part of the solution to any number of challenges – climate change, increasing the reliability of our grid, lowering electricity rates, hardening our energy infrastructure against cyber attacks, and many others,” said Senator Schatz. “ARPA-E is helping fund projects at the cutting edge of all of these challenges, and more.”

Senator Schatz’s amendment will increase the authorization for ARPA-E above what is in the Energy Policy Modernization Act. Specifically, the amendment sets forth authorization levels as follows:

  • $325 million per year for fiscal years 2016-2018
  • $375 million per year for fiscal years 2019-2020

The underlying energy bill authorizes ARPA-E at $291.2 million for FY16, $303.6 million for FY17, $314.7 million for FY18, $327.3 million for FY19, and $340.6 million for FY20. Senator Schatz worked with the ARPA-E director to assess the need and utilization for additional funding.

Since 2009, ARPA-E has funded over 400 potentially transformational energy technology projects. Many of these projects have already demonstrated early indicators of technical success. This early funding has spurred millions of dollars in follow-on private-sector funding to a number of ARPA-E projects. In addition, many ARPA-E awardees have formed start-up or spin-off companies or partnered with other parts of the government and industry to advance their technologies.

Earlier today, Senator Schatz spoke on the Senate floor in support of the bipartisan energy bill and his amendment to increase funding for ARPA-E.

Click here to view video of Senator Schatz’s floor speech.