Open Letter from Universities, Businesses, and NGOs in Support of FY19 ARPA-E Funding in Energy and Environment

Dear Chairman Alexander, Ranking Member Feinstein, Chairman Simpson and Ranking Member Kaptur,

As diverse organizations interested in the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) program, we thank you for the significant funding for this vital program in the recently enacted Fiscal Year 2018 Omnibus. ARPA-E plays a unique and critical role in maintaining America’s global leadership in energy technologies. As you begin drafting the Fiscal Year 2019 Energy and Water Appropriations bills, the undersigned organizations, companies and institutions urge you to support our competitiveness and energy security by funding ARPA-E in the Fiscal Year 2019 appropriations bill at least at $375 million.

ARPA-E is a highly innovative and effective program which enjoys strong bipartisan congressional support. Since its inception, ARPA-E has successfully sponsored a dynamic range of research, including technologies with potentially profound benefits for the nation’s future energy security. Modeled after the highly successful Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), ARPA-E supports “high-risk, high-reward” research which has the potential to drastically alter how we make and use energy in the future. The program utilizes a unique and highly successful selection process to identify innovative technologies, pushes them to meet aggressive milestones and helps them to cross the valley of death so the private sector can then commercialize them.

Despite being less than a decade old, ARPA-E is already fostering groundbreaking technological innovations in energy storage, advanced nuclear, and carbon capture and sequestration. In its nearly 10-year history, 136 of more than 340 completed projects supported by ARPA-E have attracted over $2.6 billion in private sector follow-on funding, and 71 projects have gone on to form new companies. The enthusiasm for ARPA-E’s vision and quality of work is evidenced by its ability to repeatedly draw more than 2,000 entrepreneurs, state and federal government officials, state and federal agencies and large numbers of investors to its annual Energy Innovation Summit.

The importance of U.S. leadership in energy technologies to our economic and energy security makes ARPA-E a tremendous competitive advantage for our nation. Stable and sustained funding growth is necessary to ensure this successful program continues to spearhead America’s energy research.

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