A Quick Take On What Obama's Budget Means For Clean Energy
The 2013 budget has just been released by the Obama administration; and Energy Secretary Steven Chu went over how that affects, appropriately, the Energy Department. Here's a run-down of how clean energy is treated:
Overall the budget proposes a 3.2% increase over fiscal year 2012 for Energy, with a 21% increase in funding for energy efficiency efforts, advanced vehicle and biofuels research. That brings funding to $27.2 billion overall and $2.27 billion for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
Other allocations include:
- $14 billion for maintaining nuclear deterrence capabilities and nuclear non proliferation, with the bulk of that money going to the former rather than the latter. Yes, this comes under the Energy Department purview.
- $770 million for nuclear power (including $65 million for "first-of-a-kind small modular reactors" and $60 million for research into nuclear waste handling).
- $350 million for the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy to continue their research on "early-stage projects that could deliver game-changing clean energy technologies."
- $276 million for clean coal research, carbon capture and storage, etc.
- $260 million to support the Energy Frontier Research Centers and Energy Innovation Hubs.
- $60 million for research on energy storage systems.
- $12 million for research in assessing the risks of fracking.
Some of the goals motivating these budget requests, from a green angle:
- Reducing the cost of solar power 75%, and making it cost-competitive with fossil fuels, by 2020. (Worth noting: In some places and circumstances, it's already cost-competitive; and would already be so in more places if fossil fuels were accurately priced, incorporating environmental damages caused by them.)
- Reduce US oil addiction by one-third by 2025.
On a separate, and politically telling, note, OnEarth points out that while energy spending is up, the EPA has actually been hit with a 1.2% budget cut for FY 2013.