EERE’s mission is supporting clean energy technology that strengthen the economy, protects the environment, and reduces dependence on foreign oil, and do so across 10 technology areas:  Solar; Geothermal; Biomass; Fuel Cells; Wind/Water; Manufacturing; Vehicles Homes; Buildings; and Government.  How does EERE translate this mission into action?  The answer: a planning process that disseminates broad-reaching strategies from general multi-year planning documents to detailed annual plans. The project planning process is the first step in the EERE Project Life Cycle, described in a previous blog post: Turning Ideas into Action. This process relies on gathering input from industry stakeholders and examining current market conditions.  

The starting point is the multi-year program plan (MYPP) for each technology program. The MYPP outlines technical and funding requirements, milestones, and budgets for program goals. These overarching program objectives are often laid out over the course of five years. This document describes time-phased objectives of the program, as well as explores technical and market challenges. EERE seeks to produce a useful and relevant document with performance metrics containing linkages to meet challenges and overcome barriers.

Thereafter for each fiscal year, each technology program develops an Annual Operating Plan (AOP) derived from the objectives described in its MYPP. The AOP identifies program mission, functions, and the fiscal year plans and projects associated with each strategic objective. As in the MYPP, milestones are developed and responsible parties are assigned within the AOP. The AOP also details the allocation of the needed human and financial resources to carry out the plans. This includes naming key deliverables for projects. Lastly, the AOP lists all key ongoing or planned fiscal year program projects and project specific details such as parties involved, budgets, and duration.

Two additional key tools in EERE project planning are roadmaps and market studies. Roadmaps are technology-driven and are intended to “map” out where a given technology has been and the program goal of where it will be. A roadmap can cover varying time periods based on the goals of the program. In creating roadmaps, EERE programs will consult industry, peers and take into account resulting industry input.  By contrast, a market study differs from a road-mapping exercise in that it is an analysis of only the current market and relevant trends. Once complete, the study is shared with the public.

All of these tools together help EERE transform its vision into funded projects across the full suite of its renewable energy and energy efficiency technology programs.