President Barack
Obama backs up
his intentions on
clean energy
Washington D.C., United States — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 22 February 2011 – The US$29.5 billion budget request for the American Department of Energy (DOE) for the 2012 fiscal year includes US$3.2 billion for DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). This represents a 44% increase over the current financial year appropriation of about US$2.2 billion.

A statement released here says the proposed budget aims to strengthen renewable energy sources, boost clean energy research, and cut expenses as the United States pursues the president’s vision of generating 80% of its electricity from clean sources by 2035.

Overall, the DOE budget would grow 12% over 2010 levels while cutting a number of programmes and administrative costs.

President Barack Obama’s budget includes significant boosts for EERE programmes, including a 135% increase for geothermal technology, a 115% increase for building technologies, a 93% increase for vehicle technologies, and an 88% increase for solar energy. Also, wind and biomass energy programmes would receive hikes of 61% and 57% respectively, while weatherisation spending would expand by 52%.

The proposed budget calls for US$550 million for the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) to continue support for early-stage clean energy research projects. Three existing energy innovation hubs “’ and three new ones focused on batteries and energy storage, smart grid technologies, and critical materials “’would get US$146 million under the proposal, while US$100 million would be spent to continue 46 energy frontier research centres begun in 2009.

The new budget would promote renewable energy and energy efficient projects with US$300 million in credit subsidies to support approximately US$3 to US$4 billion in projects. Additionally, the President’s Plan for Science and Innovation seeks to double the budgets of key basic research agencies, providing US$5.4 billion for the DOE’s Office of Science, with US$2 billion of that for basic energy sciences to discover new ways to produce, store, and use energy.