The major energy initiative in President Reagan's fiscal year 1989 budget is a request for increased funding for the national program to develop cleaner coal-burning technology.

The budget submitted to Congress Thursday seeks an additional $1.8 billion for the program in the form of advanced appropriations for 1990 through 1992. The administration noted that $700 million already has been made available for 1988 and 1989.The funding request for coal-burning demonstration projects is intended to carry out the president's pledge to Canada that the United States would spend $5 billion to combat acid rain.

Private sector sources participating in the clean coal program match federal funds allocated for demonstration projects.

The president's budget calls for a reduction in funds for some fossil fuel research programs. It would close out the operation of synthetic fuels facilities that have completed their test programs or . . . proven uneconomic.

Other proposed reductions would affect subsidies for fuel cell technology development and research on magnetohydrodynamics - a process for producing electricity by passing coal gas through a magnetic field.

The budget requests continued funding for broad-based research in coal chemistry, coal-derived fuels and petroleum and natural gas extraction. It would provide increased funding for enhanced oil recovery.

Another major energy initiative is a proposal to sell the government- operate d Elk Hills and Teapot Dome oil fields, using proceeds to accelerate the fill rate for the strategic petroleum reserve. (See related story on Page 7B.)

In the budget message, the administration said supplying the nation's energy needs at reasonable prices is best achieved through minimum government intervention in the marketplace.

It said progress toward this objective can be achieved by eliminating controls on natural gas prices, providing open access to natural gas pipelines, deregulating most . . . oil pipelines, repealing the windfall profit tax on domestic crude oil production and adopting new regulatory proposals to increase competition in the electric utility industry.