President Bush released his proposed federal budget for fiscal year (FY) 2005 last week. The proposed budget increases defense spending by 7 percent and homeland security spending by nearly 10 percent, while holding the growth in all other spending to 0.5 percent, according to analysis by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). In light of the tight fiscal constraints, EERE said the office faired well.Washington D.C. – February 9, 2004 [SolarAccess.com] The FY 2005 budget request for EERE is $1.25 billion, a $15.3-million increase over the comparable funding level in FY 2004, or about a 1.2 percent increase. That proposed budget increase includes a 4.8 percent increase in funding for the renewable energy programs, while holding energy efficiency funding essentially level (a 0.2 percent decrease). According to EERE, and as noted in the EERE “Budget-in-Brief” for FY 2005, DOE allocates more funding for energy efficiency and renewable energy than it does for any other energy activity. According to EERE’s detailed budget justifications, by 2025 its programs could yield more than $100 million in annual energy savings, a reduction of about 200 million metric tons in annual carbon emissions, a savings of about 2 million barrels of oil per day, and an annual reduction in natural gas consumption of more than 1.5 quadrillion Btus. The programs could also avoid the need for some 150,000 MW of new conventional power capacity, while increasing the flexibility and diversity of our electricity system and helping to avoid power shortages. DOE is also working to assure that its taxpayer’s dollars are well managed. Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham noted last week that DOE was recently ranked first among cabinet-level agencies in implementing the President’s Management Agenda (PMA), which aims to make agencies results-oriented organizations. The top ranking by the Office of Management and Budget reflects DOE’s maximum use of human resources and efforts to integrate performance assessments into its budget requests, as well as its use of competitive outsourcing, E-Government, and improved financial management. DOE Budget Proposal Boosts Hydrogen Fuel Initiative Funding When the White House and Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham unveiled DOE’s proposed budget for fiscal year (FY) 2005 on last week, both placed special emphasis on the President’s Hydrogen Fuel Initiative. President Bush first announced the initiative during last year’s State of the Union Address. The 2005 proposed budget includes $228 million for the initiative, an increase of about $69 million, or 43 percent, above 2004 funding. Hydrogen holds the promise of an ultra-clean and secure energy option for America’s future, and DOE will be at the forefront of implementing the President’s Hydrogen Fuel Initiative in 2005, said EERE. DOE’s proposed FY 2005 budget for the initiative includes $173 million for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE); $9 million for the Office of Nuclear Energy, Science and Technology; $16 million for the Office of Fossil Energy; and $29 million for the Office of Science. The proposed FY 2005 budget also includes $0.8 million for the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). This combined effort of four DOE offices and the DOT will support the continued development of technologies for clean hydrogen production and commercially viable hydrogen-powered fuel cells that power cars, trucks, homes, and businesses without the harmful effects of pollution or greenhouse gases.