Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Moving Forward: Funding to the Department of Energy

What You Need to Know About Obama’s Budget & Energy

Feb 14, 2011 - President Obama unveiled his proposed budget Monday, which calls for boosting funding to the Department of Energy by nearly 12 percent. The spending plan, which still has to be approved by Congress, focuses on research and deployment of technologies he’s championed repeatedly: renewable energy, electric cars, biofuel, energy efficiency and nuclear.

The $29.5 billion proposed budget includes $550 million for the ARPA-E program, which funds early-stage clean energy projects. The budget also contains $3.2 billion for renewable energy and energy efficiency programs; $5.4 billion for the Office of Science, which oversees research at national labs; $300 million in credit subsidies (fees borrowers have to pay to get the government to back their loans) to provide $3 to 4 billion in loan guarantees for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects; and the authority to provide $36 billion in loan guarantees for nuclear.

Obama and his Energy Secretary, Steven Chu, have outlined some clean energy goals they want to achieve, though some of the timelines they have set will go beyond Obama’s current term and even the second term, if he’s re-elected. One goal is to cut the cost of solar electricity by about 75 percent to roughly $0.06 per kilowatt-hour, or $1 per watt. At $0.06 per kilowatt-hour, solar electricity will be cost competitive against power from fossil fuel sources without needing government subsidies. {continued}

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