DOE Budget Targets Clean Energy, Energy Efficiency Advances

In the Environmental Leader, February 2 2010

President Barack Obama’s $28.4 billion fiscal year 2011 budget request for the Department of Energy (DOE) targets the Administration’s commitment to create jobs with the development of a clean energy economy, investment in advanced science, research and innovation, as well as improvements in energy efficiency to help meet the President’s pledge to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020. It also includes national security priorities.

Some of the programs include developing new ways to produce and use clean and renewable energy, engaging in innovative and transformative research at DOE’s National Laboratories, expanding the use of renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and geothermal while supporting the Administration’s goal to develop a smart and secure electricity grid.

Other programs support innovation in the renewable and nuclear energy sectors through the use of expanded loan guarantees, and responsible environmental management by cleaning up hazardous, radioactive legacy waste from the Manhattan Project and the Cold War.

The budget will provide more than $217 million in new funding for science research and discovery, including an additional $40 million for the existing Energy Frontier Research Centers program and $107 million for Energy Innovation Hubs.

Other investments include $300 million for the Advanced Research Project Agency — Energy (ARPA-E) and more than $108 million in new funding to advance and expand research in the areas of wind, solar and geothermal energies.

Not included in the budget, but part of plans, DOE also is putting about $36 billion into loan guarantees for nuclear energy and another $3 billion to $5 billion in loan guarantees for clean energy programs, according to a spokeswoman. The latter is funded by about $500 million in the budget, while the former is not, she said.

Commenting on the President increasing the budget for the smart grid, Katherine Hamilton, president, GridWise Alliance, stated: “The $40 million slated for the Office of Electricity is a 30 percent increase and is a 300 percent increase for energy storage, one of the key components of a smarter grid.”

The budget also proposes the reduction and/or elimination of several programs such as eliminating more than $2.7 billion in tax subsidies for oil, coal and gas industries, which would generate revenue of about $38.8 billion over the next ten years.

The budget also calls for the termination of the ultra-deepwater exploration program, saving $50 million, and canceling the planned expansion of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, saving $71 million.

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