Compiled by Patrick Hughes and Jonathan Stewart
As required by law, President Obama released his FY2016 budget on the first Monday of February. Totaling $4 trillion, President Obama described the budget as a way to “replace mindless austerity with smart investments that strengthen America.” His proposal, which is subject to congressional approval, included increases in spending for a number of agencies and programs that impact NEMA members. Below is an outline of President Obama’s budget requests that would impact electrical and medical imaging manufacturers.
Department of Energy
President Obama requested $29.9 billion in discretionary spending for DOE programs, an increase of $2.5 billion over the FY2015 enacted level. This includes funding for:
- Crosscutting Programs: Many of the issues DOE works on are not isolated within a single office. Recognizing this, the president requested a total of $235 million for five crosscutting programs, including three that will impact NEMA members:
- Grid Modernization: DOE is seeking $152.5 million to create and deploy the tools and technologies that will help analyze and control the grid of the future, to explore the regulatory and business models needed for a changing electricity sector, and to ensure that the grid is kept safe and secure from natural and man-made threats.
- Energy-Water Nexus: The president is seeking $9 million to support three activities related to the link between energy and water: data analysis and modeling to improve our understanding of how energy and water are used, research and development of technologies to improve existing systems, and policy development and stakeholder engagement focused on identifying solutions for a more efficient and resilient energy-water system.
- Cybersecurity: In order to protect DOE from cyberthreats, support the federal government’s ability to cope with cyberthreats, and improve the cybersecurity of the electricity, oil, and natural gas sectors, President Obama is proposing $2 million for a crosscutting cybersecurity program.
- Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability: The Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability would receive $270 million if the president’s budget is adopted by Congress. This includes funding for:
- Energy Storage: The president is seeking $21 million (an increase of $9 million over enacted FY2015 levels) to reduce the cost of and regulatory barriers facing energy storage systems.
- State Energy Reliability and Assurance Grants: This is a new program that would grant $27.5 million to states, localities, and tribes for use in long-term transmission, storage, and distribution system reliability and climate resilience planning, as well as $35.5 million in grants to create or enhance existing energy emergency response programs.
- Smart Grid Research and Development: DOE is seeking $30 million (an increase of $14.6 million over enacted FY2015 levels) to increase grid performance by exploring market-based solutions to integrate increased levels of distributed energy resources, as well as to research the integration of grid technologies and data streams with distribution management systems.
- Transformer Resilience and Advanced Components: A new proposal, this program would use $10 million to address the energy reliability risks facing critical grid equipment, such as large power transformers.
- Clean Energy Transmission and Reliability: $40 million is requested, an increase of $5.7 million over the FY2015 enacted level, to improve the technologies and software used to manage electric transmission systems.
- Cybersecurity for Energy Delivery Systems: DOE is requesting $52 million, an increase of $6 million over the FY2015 enacted level, to mitigate the risk of potential cyber attacks on electricity, oil, and natural gas infrastructure.
- National Electricity Delivery (NED): President Obama is asking Congress for $7.5 million, an increase of $1.5 million over the FY2015 enacted level, to help states, regions, municipalities, and tribes improve their electrical infrastructure programs and policies, as well as for NED’s federal-level work on transmission congestion, permitting, and siting.
- Infrastructure Security and Energy Restoration: DOE is seeking $14 million, an increase of $8 million over the FY2015 enacted level, to enhance the reliability and resiliency of electricity, oil, and natural gas infrastructure, and to lead restoration efforts when a disruption occurs.
- Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy: President Obama is seeking $2.72 billion (an increase of $809 million over enacted FY2015 levels) for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, including funding for:
- Building Technologies Office (BTO): President Obama is asking Congress for $264 million (an increase of $92 million over enacted FY2015 levels) to fund BTO’s efforts to support emerging building technologies. BTO’s work will also focus on grid-connected buildings, product standards, and technical assistance for states and other jurisdictions on building energy codes.
- Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO): The budget proposes increasing the AMO budget to $404 million (an increase of $204 million over enacted FY2015 levels) in order to fund research, development, demonstration, and deployment of industrial energy efficiency and advanced manufacturing techniques.
- Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP): The budget would provide FEMP with $43 million (an increase of $16 million over enacted FY2015 levels) to assist federal agencies in meeting their energy goals, including investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy.
- Vehicle Technologies Office: President Obama’s budget would also provide $444 million (an increase of $164 million over enacted FY2015 levels) for the research, development, demonstration, and deployment of energy-efficient and alternative-fuel vehicles, including electric vehicles.
- Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E): To facilitate cutting-edge, early-stage research and development projects focused on transformational energy technologies, President Obama requested $325 million to fund ARPA-E, an increase of $45 million over the FY2015 enacted level.
Environmental Protection Agency
The proposed budget for EPA is $8.6 billion, an increase of $452 million over the FY2015 enacted level. This includes funding for:
- Climate Protection Program: The total proposed budget for the EPA’s Climate Protection Program, which is situated under the Clean Air and Climate program area, is $117.7 million, $14.3 million above the FY2015 enacted level. The ENERGY STAR program, which includes both product-specific regulations and the ENERGY STAR label and rating system for buildings, would see a $3.9 million budget increase over the FY2015 enacted level if the president’s budget is adopted by Congress.
- Federal Stationary Source Regulations: The president’s budget calls for $37.5 million, $12.5 million above enacted FY2015 levels, for the regulation of pollutants from stationary sources under the Clean Air Act. This includes $11.4 million more over FY2015 levels to develop federal plans and review state plans under the Clean Power Plan, EPA’s proposed CO2 standards for existing power plants.
- Assessing Chemical Safety: The $56.3 million provided in FY 2016 allows the EPA to continue assessing the potential risks from new and existing chemicals in commerce. In FY 2016, the EPA will continue to implement its Enhanced Chemicals Management approach, which seeks to expand and enhance the quantity, accessibility and usefulness of chemical safety information.
- Chemical Facility Safety: EPA is providing $27.8 million for the State and Local Prevention and Preparedness program, to support efforts to improve chemical facility safety through stakeholder outreach, emergency planning assistance, high-risk chemical facility inspections, and other activities related to the President’s Executive Order on Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security.
General Services Administration
The General Services Administration (GSA), which manages nearly 10,000 federal buildings, is requesting $253 million in Congressional appropriations for FY2016, an increase of $13 million over the FY2015 enacted level. This accounts for approximately 1 percent of GSA’s $24.2 billion annual budget; the other 99 percent is paid for through GSA’s service offerings. This includes funding for:
- Construction and Acquisition: The total proposed FY2016 GSA budget for construction and acquisition is $1.26 billion.
- Repairs and Alterations: For repairs and alterations to existing buildings, GSA’s proposed FY2016 budget is $1.25 billion.
- Energy and Water Retrofit and Conservation Measures Program: GSA is seeking $20 million for energy and water-saving measures in federal buildings, including innovative new technologies via the GSA Green Proving Ground program.
- Fire Protection and Life Safety Program: GSA is seeking $20 million to fund upgrades to the fire- and life-safety systems in federal buildings.
Consumer Product Safety Commission
- Import Surveillance: This request includes $3.5 million for implementation of Risk Assessment Methodology technology and $13.5 million for CPSC personnel presence and technical support at ports located throughout the U.S. We can expect to see appropriated funds scale up over the next five years while the Commission continues to seek introduction of user fees (which are anticipated at $19 million for FY 2016).
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
- Executive Order 13650: $5,150,000 and 23 FTE to enable the agency to implement Executive Order (EO) 13650, “Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security,” including the modernization of OSHA’s PSM Standard and other chemical-related standards and the development of related guidance materials.
- NRTL Program: The President requests $24.6 million for technical assistance in the OSHA budget. Some of this funding would be allocated to the NRTL Program Office to ensure that independent third-party organizations are qualified to test and certify particular types of equipment to protect workers from hazards such as electric shock and burns.