President Barack Obama has asked Congress for $27.2 billion for the US Energy Department for 2013, including $2.27 billion intended solely to help further the adoption of renewable energy in the US.
"The United States is competing in a global race for the clean energy jobs of the future," said Energy Secretary Steven Chu as he detailed the spending plan for reporters. "The choice we face as a nation is simple: do we want the clean energy technologies of tomorrow to be invented in America by American innovators, made by American workers and sold around the world, or do we want to concede those jobs to our competitors? We can and must compete for those jobs.”
“This budget request includes responsible investments in an American economy that is built to last," Chu added.
The budget reinforces the president’s plan to mandate that utilities produce 80 percent of the country’s electricity from low-carbon sources like wind, solar, natural gas and nuclear by 2035.
The “clean energy standard,” the budget request says, “is the centerpiece of the Administration’s strategy to ensure strong American leadership in the clean energy economy.”
Specifically the President's FY 2013 budget request for the Department of Energy:
•Invests in cross-cutting research to lead in the research, development, deployment and production of renewable energy technologies;
•Promotes efforts to make solar power affordable for all Americans by reducing the cost of solar energy by 75 percent and making it cost competitive without subsidies by the end of the decade;
•Supports groundbreaking basic science, research and innovation to solve then nation’s energy challenges;
Highlights of the proposed FY 2013 budget include:
•$60 million to perform critical research on energy storage systems and devise new approaches for battery storage;
•$350 million for the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) to continue support for promising early-stage research projects that could deliver game-changing clean energy technologies;
•$120 million to support the Energy Frontier Research Centers and $140 million for the five existing Energy Innovation Hubs and to establish a new hub to focus on grid systems and the tie between transmission and distribution systems;
•$770 million for nuclear energy, including $65 million for cost-shared awards to support first-of-a-kind small modular reactors and $60 million for nuclear waste R&D that aligns with the recommendations of the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future;
•$276 million for research and development of advanced fossil fuel power systems and carbon capture, utilization and storage technologies to allow for the continued use of our abundant domestic coal resources while reducing greenhouse gas emissions;
While industry insiders like much of what they see in the proposal, expectations are that the plan will face major hurdles on Capitol Hill, especially in this presidential election year.