US Energy Budget Proposal
by Modern Power Systems
US president Barack Obama has proposed an increase in funding for clean energy technologies while cutting subsidies and tax preferences that support fossil fuels.
The president and the US Department of Energy (DOE) have unveiled an ambitious $29.5 billion fiscal 2012 budget request that they say will enable the USA to "out-compete the rest of the world" and become a leader in clean energy.
The budget includes $8 billion to support the development of wind, solar and other clean energy technologies and also proposes reduced and terminated funding for several key DOE programmes including the fuel cells programme and the hydrogen technology programme.
"To lead the world in clean energy, we must act now," said Energy Secretary Steven Chu. "We can't afford not to. Through our investments, we are laying the groundwork for the nation's future prosperity and security.
"While we are investing in areas that are critical to our future, we are also rooting out programmes that aren't needed and making hard choices to tighten our belt. Additionally, we are improving our management and operations so we function more efficiently and effectively."
The budget will put the USA on the right path for achieving Obama's recently-announced goal of sourcing 80 per cent of the USA's electricity needs from clean sources by 2035. However, the White House's request to repeal $3.6 billion in oil, natural gas and coal subsidies is likely to be opposed in Congress. Other cuts include a 45 per cent reduction in the Fossil Energy Office's budget.
The budget includes $3.2 billion for energy efficiency and renewable energy programmes, $300 million in credit subsidies for renewable energy projects, $36 billion in loan guarantee authority for the nuclear industry and $5.4 billion for the Office of Science to expand research into advanced scientific computing and other sciences.
It will also expand the number of Energy Innovation Hubs to six in order to boost the development of energy storage and smart grid technologies.
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