Obama 2011 budget request backs energy efficiency

US President Barack Obama’s budget request for next year, despite having to deal with a deficit of $1.3 trillion, will boost investment in energy efficiency and nuclear power.

“We [will] we build on the largest investment in clean energy in history, as well as increase investment in scientific research, so that we are fostering the industries and jobs of the future,” he said.

As part of the plans, the Department of Energy (DOE) is slated to receive $28.4 billion, a slight increase on the $26.4 billion allocated for this year.

The budget includes a $31 million boost to the DOE’s Building Technologies Program, which develops building codes, equipment standards and energy efficient commercial buildings.

The Industrial Technologies Program, which aims to help manufacturers cut energy costs, and the Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP), which has been charged with improving the energy efficiency of federal facilities, are also set to receive more modest increases.

“The Administration’s 2011 budget request evidences that President Obama remains steadfast in his march to quickly and widely deploy energy efficiency,” says Kateri Callahan, president of the Alliance to Save Energy.

The budget request only earmarks a 5% increase for the ENERGY STAR programme, which Callahan says is disappointing and should be increased to support the programme’s role in driving the uptake of energy efficient products and services.

The DOE’s new effort to accelerate research and development of new energy technologies, the Advanced Research Project Agency – Energy (ARPA-E), however, is set to receive $300 million next year.

Meanwhile, other research programmes in renewables and nuclear power will benefit. But tax subsidies totalling an estimated $2.7 billion for oil, coal and gas industries will be cut.

“This budget supports new approaches to energy research and invests in the next generation of scientists and engineers, and it will spark new clean energy projects nationwide, including restarting the American nuclear power industry,” said Energy Secretary Steve Chu.

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US government to cut its own emissions 28% by 2020 (1-Feb)
US Department of Energy budget focuses on renewables and transport (12-May 2009)

02 February 2010