Energy R&D:

DOE's Prioritization and Budgeting Process for Renewable Energy Research

RCED-92-155: Published: Apr 29, 1992. Publicly Released: May 5, 1992.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the Department of Energy's (DOE) processes for planning and budgeting research and development (R&D) projects for renewable energy technologies, focusing on how DOE: (1) determines the annual budget for energy technologies and the role the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) plays in the process; (2) allocates R&D funds among renewable energy technologies; and (3) ensures that specific congressional directives for R&D programs for renewable energy technology are followed.

GAO found that: (1) to establish budget targets for program offices, DOE uses the preceding year's budget request as a guide in allocating OMB-established categorical spending targets for the fiscal year (FY) being planned; (2) in developing the FY 1993 budget request, DOE linked energy R&D to program funding priorities to National Energy Strategy (NES) goals; (3) to establish a coordinated planning, programming, and budgeting capability that brings plans and programs into line with near-, mid-, and long-term NES goals, DOE also included a strategic planning initiative as part of the FY 1993 budget process; (4) for the FY 1993 budget process, DOE ranked civilian energy R&D programs according to their projected contributions to NES goals; (5) OMB initiates the DOE budget process, provides general policy and budgetary direction, and reviews the budget before its goes to Congress for accordance with administration policy and other factors; (6) for renewable energy programs, the Assistant Secretary for Conservation and Renewable Energy makes proposed funding allocations based on the results of an internal planning and budgeting process that recommends funding priorities as well as special projects; (7) in developing the budget, DOE also considers recommendations from industry groups, utilities, and other end-users of renewable energy technologies; and (8) DOE reviews congressional appropriations documents to identify congressional directives and incorporate them into annual operating and spending plans.