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About Plans, Implementation, and Results

The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) plays a critical role in the development and use of more energy efficient and renewable energy technologies throughout the U.S. economy. To achieve its goals, EERE uses public funds appropriated by the U.S. Congress that are typically leveraged by additional funds or other resources contributed by private or other public sector organizations in partnership agreements.

As a publicly funded agency of the U.S. government, EERE has a fiduciary obligation to inform citizens about the manner in which we invest and use these funds to benefit the public. This section of the EERE website is intended to provide both a broad overview as well as detailed documents that explain the following:

  • The plans for how appropriated funds will be used to benefit the public
  • The manner in which those plans are implemented, controlled, and adjusted
  • The technological, economic, environmental, and other outcomes and benefits that result from the expenditure of these funds

Read more about EERE's:

To learn more about how EERE plans, budgets and monitors its performance at the corporate level (that is, EERE overall), access the Business Operations section of the EERE website.

To learn more about how EERE manages the RD&D projects in which it invests, access the Project Management Center section of the EERE website.

Or review our collection of corporate-level documents detailing EERE's planning and implementation efforts, as well as our results.

Plans

EERE office planning is an iterative process that responds to various inputs from such sources as policymakers, stakeholders, office reviewers, market researchers as well as the continually evolving results of ongoing projects. This continuous process is interspersed with certain events and activities that are particularly instrumental in shaping office plans, such as the passage of various public laws. Key stakeholder input through the publication of various technology roadmaps and strategic vision documents are also critical planning drivers.

Periodically EERE offices convene to rewrite their strategic plans. These plans typically articulate an office's overall mission, vision, core goals, and key operational objectives.

Technology roadmaps are developed to support visions, goals, and missions articulated in strategic plans. Typically drafted in collaboration with external experts from industry, trade associations, universities, national laboratories, nongovernmental organizations, and others, technology roadmaps represent the consensus "best minds in the business" thinking about the major barriers and potential avenues of research to address them in a specific technology area such as photovoltaics or wind turbines. They help determine the principal activities needed to successfully develop a technology, and help shape EERE's Multiyear Program Plans.

To implement goals articulated in their strategic plans and research pathways identified in their roadmaps, EERE's R&D programs first develop Multiyear Program Plans (MYPPs). EERE's Office of Budget provides guidance to EERE's offices about their multiyear program plans, and helps ensure their plans address performance expectations of the Office of the President, OMB, and the Secretary of Energy. MYPPs serve as operational guides for offices in managing their activities and help identify clear linkages between key office activities and progress toward goals. MYPPs are also a key input to EERE's annual budget planning.

EERE and its offices submit their Presidential Budget Request annually to Congress. The budget request incorporates inputs from an office's many planning activities as well as public officials at various levels within the Administration and U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). After reviewing an office's budget request, Congress determines the total amount of funding EERE offices will receive and allocates that amount among various budget and reporting categories.

Throughout their planning activities, EERE offices are informed by a wide array of analytical studies, reports, models, databases and other sources of research, knowledge and insight. Potential costs, risks, benefits and numerous other factors are widely analyzed and help inform each office's portfolio planning processes.

Implementation

The offices of EERE use a variety of RD&D management practices to implement their plans (e.g., periodic peer reviews). Broadly, these practices break down into two major areas: the research and development of new technologies and the deployment of such technologies and "best practices" into the marketplace.

To help EERE offices intelligently manage the large and dynamic nature of information produced by their RD&D portfolios, systems engineering processes and models are frequently used. This helps offices integrate rich streams of complex technical data with programmatic data about schedules and budgets and make informed portfolio management decisions.

Detailed evaluations of the potential cost and performance of new technology systems help lay the foundation for new research areas. They support the development of specific criteria that become the focus of new competitive solicitations.

In implementing their plans, EERE offices also participate in an array of deployment and diffusion projects. Deployment includes activities that promote the adoption of advanced energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and practices.

Some EERE offices work with other organizations to develop and implement codes, standards, rules and regulations in order to help deploy more efficient energy supply and use technologies. For example, such approaches are used where market barriers interfere with the widespread adoption of technologies or practices that can help reduce energy use by consumers.

Education and workforce development are also used by EERE offices in some cases to help deploy technologies and practices. Such efforts can range from simply improving awareness about the benefits of renewable energy and more energy-efficient technologies to providing detailed instruction in the technical skills required to implement or use complex new technologies.

Most newly planned projects and initiatives—whether technology research, development, or deployment—begin with a competitive solicitation to obtain the most promising innovative ideas that simultaneously offer the best investment value to the government. Proposals are reviewed by merit selection panels, and those selected receive financial assistance from EERE to fund work on their ideas. In the majority of cases, these activities take the form of cost-shared R&D partnerships with the private sector. This also helps ensure efficient and rapid transfer of successfully developed technologies and processes to the private sector.

Awarded projects must have milestones that align with goals articulated in program plans. Frequent progress reports to EERE help ensure projects remain on target toward their milestones and that work conforms to approved plans and budgets.

Periodic peer reviews of each office's overall portfolio help identify projects that are not meeting expectations. Such reviews enable EERE offices to adjust their portfolio of projects in a rational manner. Stage-gate reviews are also conducted at appropriate times to assess whether or not a project should move ahead to an advanced level of development, typically requiring additional investment.

Results

What's the bottom line? What does the public get for the funds it invests in EERE?

A very broad array of outcomes derive from EERE's technology investment portfolio. This can range from merely eliminating certain technical avenues from further exploration at the minimum end to the development of successfully commercialized technologies that become the basis for entirely new industries. Many EERE-supported technologies that successfully overcome challenging technical barriers yet fail to become commercial successes themselves provide the foundational knowledge or know-how for other technologies that do. Energy prices have an outsized impact on the commercial success of EERE-supported technologies: many technologies that look unappealing at a $50/barrel oil price start to attract considerable interest at $100/barrel oil.

Commercial outcomes refer to EERE-supported technologies that have been successfully patented, manufactured, sold and are in use in the marketplace.

Technical outcomes refer to EERE-supported technologies that, though not yet commercialized, show promise and exhibit reduced cost or improved performance in comparison to existing technologies, processes or products or overcome a technological barrier or challenge of some kind. Often such promising technologies become the basis for further research or experimentation that ultimately leads to commercial success. These technologies may also offer important options in the future if, for example, energy prices increase significantly.

Case studies examine technology development efforts and identify the lessons learned in both successes and failures.

Costs, benefits, and return on investment studies provide detailed quantitative economic (costs, benefits, and bottom line impact) analyses of technology successes and failures.

Intellectual property refers to EERE-supported technologies that have been awarded patents or other forms of intellectual property protection. The granting of a patent signifies a certain level of technical achievement. Though many patented technologies are never commercialized, few, if any, newly commercialized technologies remain unpatented.

External recognition such as R&D 100 Awards or similar esteemed public acknowledgments typically are conferred only on technical achievements of exceptional merit. While such recognition does not always equate to commercial success, increased public attention on such technologies can boost the chances for such success or encourage further public or private investment.