Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) is an office within the United States Department of Energy that invests in high-risk, high-value research and development in the fields of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies. The Office of EERE is led by the Assistant Secretary of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, who manages several internal EERE offices and ten programs that support research, development, and outreach efforts.


Management and organization

The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy's mission, according to the U.S. Department of Energy's Web site, is to strengthen America's energy security, environmental quality, and economic vitality in public-private partnerships that enhance energy efficiency and productivity; bring clean, reliable and affordable energy technologies to the marketplace; and make a difference in the everyday lives of Americans by enhancing their energy choices and their quality of life.[1]

The Office of EERE is led by the Assistant Secretary of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, who is appointed by the President and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. The Office manages ten major programs, each of which is responsible for research, development, and outreach in a particular field of renewable energy or energy efficiency.

Assistant Secretary

The Acting Assistant Secretary of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy is Dr. Henry Kelly.[2]


EERE is divided internally into several different offices that are responsible for different aspects of its operations.[3]

  • Business Administration
  • Commercialization and Deployment
  • Golden Field Office
  • Technology Advancement and Outreach
  • Technology Development


The Office of EERE's annual budget is determined by annual congressional appropriations. The Office of EERE received $1,457,241,000 in fiscal year 2007, $1,722,407,000 in fiscal year 2008, and requested $1,255,393,000 for fiscal year 2009.[4] These funds are divided among the ten EERE programs and internal costs such as program direction, program support, and facilities and infrastructure.


These values are taken from the EERE 2007 budget documents.

(values in thousands) Appropriation Request Change
2006 2007 2008 FY07 to FY08
Energy Supply and Conservation
Biomass and Biorefinery Systems R&D 89,776 149,687 179,263 +29,576
Building Technologies 68,190 77,329 86,456 +9,127
Federal Energy Management Program 18,974 16,906 16,791 -115
Geothermal Technology 22,762 0 0 0
Hydrogen Technology 153,451 195,801 213,000 +17,199
Hydropower 495 0 0 0
Industrial Technologies 55,856 45,563 45,998 +435
Solar Energy 81,791 148,372 148,304 -68
Vehicle Technologies 178,351 166,024 176,138 +10,114
Weatherization and Intergovernmental Activities 316,866 225,031 204,904 -20,127
Wind Energy 38,333 43,819 40,069 -3,750
Facilities and Infrastructure 26,052 5,935 6,982 +1,047
Program Direction 101,868 91,024 105,013 +13,989
Program Support 13,321 10,930 13,281 +2,351
Adjustments -3,339
Total, Energy Supply and Conservation 1,162,747 1,176,421 1,236,199 +59,778

Major programs


The Biomass Program works with industry, academia, and national laboratory partners on research in biomass feedstocks and conversion technologies. Key goals of the Program include focusing research and development efforts to ensure that cellulosic ethanol is cost competitive by 2012, and further developing infrastructure and opportunities for market penetration of bio-based fuels and products.[5]

Building Technologies

The Building Technologies Program works to improve the energy efficiency of new and existing buildings through industry partnerships, research, and tool development.[6] The program’s strategic goal is to create technologies and design approaches that lead to marketable net zero energy homes by 2020 and net zero energy commercial buildings by 2025.[7]

The Building Technologies Program oversees the U.S. Department of Energy's work with Energy Star, which is managed through partnership with the United States Environmental Protection Agency.[8]

Federal Energy Management

The Federal Energy Management Program facilitates the federal government's implementation of cost-effective energy management and investment practices. This is delivered through project transaction services, applied technology services, and decision support services.[9]

Geothermal Technologies

The Geothermal Technologies Program supports research and development for geothermal energy technologies, and supports finding, accessing, and using geothermal resources in the United States.[10] One of their primary goals is to develop a 5 megawatt proof-of-principle demonstration of enhanced geothermal systems technology by 2015, and to validate the sustainability of this project by 2020.[11]

Hydrogen, Fuel Cell Technologies

The Hydrogen, Fuel Cell Technologies Program works with academia, industry, the U.S. Department of Energy's national laboratories, and EERE's Vehicle Technologies Program to research and develop hydrogen production, delivery, and storage technologies; to develop hydrogen safety codes and standards; to validate and demonstrate hydrogen technologies in real-world situations; and to educate stakeholders about these technologies.[12]

Industrial Technologies

The Industrial Technologies Program works with U.S. industries to reduce their energy intensity and carbon emissions, and supports the development of advanced industrial technologies and energy management best practices.[13] Through the Save Energy Now initiative, this program is leading a drive to reduce industrial energy intensity 25% by 2017, a national goal outlined in the Energy Policy Act of 2005.

Solar Energy Technologies

The Solar Energy Technologies Program focuses on accelerating the advancement of solar energy technologies. Its four subprograms are photovoltaics, concentrating solar power, market transformation, and systems integration.[14]

Vehicle Technologies

The Vehicle Technologies Program works with industry to develop technologies that could increase vehicle energy efficiency and to research, develop, demonstrate, test, validate, commercialize, and educate about alternative fuel vehicles.[15]

Weatherization & Intergovernmental

The Weatherization and Intergovernmental Program provides grants to state governments, Indian tribes, municipal utilities, and low-income families[16] through four separate programs that utilize all of EERE’s energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies:

  • Renewable Energy Production Incentive
  • State Energy Program
  • Tribal Energy Program
  • Weatherization Assistance Program

Wind and Hydropower Technologies

The Wind and Hydropower Technologies Program conducts research in wind and water energy technologies. Wind energy R&D includes utility-scale technologies for both land-based and offshore applications and small distributed wind energy systems for home, farm, and business applications.[17] One example of a project sponsored by the Wind and Hydropower Technologies Program is the Wind ENergy Data & Information (WENDI) Gateway, established by Oak Ridge National Laboratory in March 2010. An additional program within this section is the Wind Powering America Initiative. Water energy research includes traditional hydropower technologies as well as wave energy, ocean current, tidal current, and river current technologies.[18]

EERE-funded activities and events

The Office of EERE sponsors, in whole or in part, activities aimed at public outreach and engagement in energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies. Prominent national events include:

Solar Decathlon

The Solar Decathlon is a competition held in Washington, D.C. every other year. Students from 20 universities and colleges across the United States and the world construct homes that are powered exclusively by solar energy. These homes are displayed on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. and judged in ten contests.[19][20]

The next Solar Decathlon will be held in 2009, on October 9-13 and 15-18.

EcoCAR: The NeXt Challenge

EcoCAR is a college-level competition during which college-level students at 17 North American universities are given three years to produce a zero emissions vehicle. The students produce a variety of alternative vehicles, including full-function electric, range-extended electric, hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and fuel cell vehicles. The event culminates in a week-long competition.[21]

The event is run by the U.S. Department of Energy and General Motors.

Solar America Cities

Solar America Cities is a partnership between the U.S. Department of Energy, 25 cities across the United States, and municipal, county, and state agencies, universities, solar companies, utilities, developers, and non-profit organizations.[22] The 25 selected cities each received $5 million, as well as technical assistance from the U.S. Department of Energy, to:

  • Integrate solar energy technologies into city energy planning
  • Remove barriers to solar energy development in their city
  • Promote solar technologies among the residents and local businesses.[23]

National laboratories

The Office of EERE provides funding to 12 of the U.S. Department of Energy's national laboratories[24] for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.


External links

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Department of Energy.

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