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Thursday, December 28, 2006

Coalition Urges Congress to Shift Funds to Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

[From Renewable Energy]

In a letter delivered this week to congressional leaders, 103 business, consumer, environmental, energy policy, and other groups urged that federal energy research and development funds be shifted to programs supporting renewable energy and energy efficiency -- away from fossil fuel and nuclear power programs.

The letter specifically proposes changes in the Fiscal Year 2007 (FY'07) budget for the U.S. Department of Energy, which the 110th Congress is expected to consider shortly after convening on January 4, 2007. The groups recommended that the FY'06 programs for Nuclear Power R&D be cut by $206 million and those programs falling under Fossil Fuel R&D be cut by $183 million.

The groups' proffered recommendations include:

  • fund all core DOE renewable energy and energy efficiency programs at no less than the FY'06 appropriated levels unless otherwise indicated below;

  • restore the DOE geothermal research program to at least its historic level of $27.5 million;

  • restore the DOE advanced and incremental hydropower research program to at least its historic level of $5.0 million;

  • restore and maintain policy, research, development and demonstration funding for the DOE Distributed Energy program at the FY'06 level of $60 million;

  • fund the DOE State Energy Program at the at the U.S. Senate FY'07 level of $49.5 million;

  • fund the DOE Buildings Technologies program at the U.S. Senate FY'07 level of $95.3 million; and

  • fund the DOE Solar Energy Technologies Program at the House and Senate FY'07 level of $148 million.

  • The groups noted that "a shift in federal funding from mature and/or polluting technologies to cleaner, safer, and sustainable energy sources offers the best option for curbing greenhouse gas emissions, reducing oil imports, and addressing the nation's other pressing energy and deficit-reduction needs within the constraints of a very tight federal budget."

    Inquiries may be made to Ken Bossong of the Sustainable Energy Network at 301-588-4741, or via e-mail at

    This seems like a no-brainer to me. It's appaling really that President Bush get's away with bold rhetoric about alternative energy, new clean, grean technologies, etc. (i.e., in his 2006 State of the Union, for example [see previous post]), while axing funding for several renewable energy programs (i.e., the geothermal and advanced hydropwer programs) and reducing funding for several more in his 2007 budget proposal.

    I hope that the new congress heads the letter discussed above and restores or expands funding for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. We can't afford to lag behind in our research and development spending anymore. Serious problems require serious efforts. Chump change and rhetoric just won't do it.

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