Breakthrough Energy Report US Economic Impacts of Expanded Federal Energy R&D Investments

At Breakthrough Energy, we believe that to prevent the worst impacts of climate change, we need to commercialize and scale clean technologies here in America and across the globe more quickly than ever before. The United States can lead the way in developing the breakthroughs we need to change the way we power the world if we commit the resources and willpower to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Public sector investment in research and development (R&D) is the foundation upon which such breakthroughs in technology are possible, and as our September 2020 study prepared by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP made clear, is also a substantial part of the U.S. economy and an engine of job creation. Federally funded R&D supported over 1.6 million jobs in 2018 and added nearly $200 billion in value to the U.S. economy.

The scenario presented here expands on our prior study to estimate the economic impact that increased federal investment in clean energy R&D would have on the U.S. economy and workforce.

The results of this new analysis are compelling: increasing energy R&D investment to $35 billion – roughly the same amount as health and biomedical research – would add $53 billion to the economy as well as support more than 372,000 jobs.

We encourage leaders and policymakers to consider investing in energy R&D not only as a crucial step towards solving the climate crisis, but also as a down payment to rebuilding the economy as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and securing the clean energy economy of the future.