The Arctic Energy Office (AEO) serves as the principal advisor to the Under Secretary on all domestic Arctic issues, including energy, science, and national security. AEO has primary responsibility for coordinating efforts across the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Program Offices and National Laboratories to ensure a unified voice on all Arctic issues.
The Arctic Energy Office (AEO) brings together assets from across the Department of Energy to work together in collaborative and innovative ways to meet the energy, science, and national security needs of the United States and its allies in the Arctic.
With its cross-cutting mission, AEO will coordinate the numerous activities underway across the DOE complex related to the Arctic and bring them together under one single umbrella that serves the entire Department.
AEO leads the Department’s domestic energy Administration priorities as well as cross-cutting opportunities and priorities on the Arctic region, strategic analysis, assessment of equities and energy resources in Alaska, cutting edge initiatives, and innovative activities including microgrids and integrated energy systems.
The Office coordinates DOE’s domestic engagement strategy, objectives, and operations, and recommends policy and programs working across Departmental elements, together with other federal agencies, the Executive Office of the President (EOP), National Security Council, national and international organizations and institutions, and the private sector. In order to accomplish its mission, AEO collaborates with the Office of the Secretary, relevant DOE program and staff offices, and national laboratories, including the Office of International Affairs (IA), and the private sector. AEO will coordinate with IA to manage the Department’s Arctic Strategic Plan to ensure the nexus of Arctic and Alaskan energy, science and national security issues aligns with Administration priorities. AEO collaborates with the Assistant Secretary for International Affairs, who has primary responsibility for international policy, in the analysis, development, evaluation, and implementation of international Arctic policy.
The Office works to facilitate the communication of DOE national energy policies and initiatives to ensure the Department’s domestic presence is based on a sound strategy and a thorough evaluation of Departmental needs and resources to strengthen the Department's mission and programs and facilitate the advancement of U.S. energy, science and national security interests.
The Secretary was granted the authority to establish the Arctic Energy Office, by the 2001 National Defense Authorization Act. In the 2020 Senate Energy & Water Development (SEWD) Appropriations Bill report, under Crosscutting Initiatives, language is included to support the re-establishment of the Arctic Energy Office, including “The Department is directed to support a renewed focus on the Arctic region, and as a cross-cutting activity, use the Arctic Energy Office as a centralized area to support the use of energy resources, but also innovative activities, including microgrids and integrated energy systems.”
Previously, the bulk of the work of AEO was done by the Office of Fossil Energy through their National Energy Technology Laboratory. The new AEO will be a stand-alone office and not belong to a specific program area. It will be cross-cutting and will report directly to the Under Secretary of Energy. The office was officially re-established on November 27th 2019 by Secretary Perry, as committed to by Secretary Brouillette at his confirmation hearing, with a renewed focus on the Arctic region.
The office has three primary areas of focus: Energy, Science and National Security. While it will not provide funding opportunity announcements, it will coordinate and streamline existing research, development and deployment activities in the Arctic. This includes work by the Office of Science to measure solar radiation, work by Fossil Energy on modular gasification applications in challenging environments, work by the Office of Electricity on deployment of microgrid technologies in Alaska, and work by Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy on next generation river power systems. The Office will build on this work to define a focused research agenda based on these activities.
Additionally, the Office engages and collaborates with other governmental agencies with equities in the Arctic region, including the Departments of Defense and State. AEO also supports our International Affairs Office with international engagement obligations, such as the Arctic Council, which interacts with the 7 other Arctic nations in the region, and will help design and launch new initiatives and programs in the Arctic and other emerging topics.
AEO maintains substantive knowledge of the activities, issues, and policies of the Department, Administration, other Federal entities (including the National Security Council, Office of Management and Budget and other White House offices), Congress and Congressional Committees, and energy producers and consumers. The AEO Director, or designated staff, represents the Under Secretary of Energy in interagency deliberations on those issues within its purview. AEO coordinates DOE’s domestic energy relations with other countries closely with the Department of State, and other relevant agencies. The DOE cooperates directly with state and local governments, universities and through bilateral organizations.
The Arctic Energy Office works in partnership with other DOE organizations (e.g., Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management, Office of Indian Energy, Office of Nuclear Energy, Office of Science), and the DOE national laboratories (e.g., the members of the Arctic Laboratory Partnerships consortium).
The University of Alaska, Fairbanks (UAF) is a key partner with the Arctic Energy Office. AEO is located on the UAF campus, providing immediate proximity to its array of arctic research expertise and resources, UAF’s Alaska Center for Energy and Power testing facility, the Cold Climate Housing Research Center operated by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and the Permafrost Tunnel Research Facility maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.