DOE Expected to Slash Budget for Wind, Geothermal, CSP Solar

Rumors have been circulating among those with an ear to energy issues in Washington, DC, that deep budget cuts are likely in a wide range of renewable energy technologies as the government seeks a way to pay for all its expenditures without increasing revenue.

For starters, an unnamed source in the capitol told RenewableEnergyAccess.com that the advanced hydro turbine program would be eliminated in FY’06. What’s been public and official for sometime now is the FY’06 elimination of the advanced hydro turbine program. The Senate and House have both approved such action based upon the White House’s recommendation — but a final conferenced FY’06 bill has not yet been voted upon so it’s not yet final. What remains a matter of unconfirmed, but increasingly rumored reports, are even broader cuts to renewable energy in the FY’07 budget. An unnamed source in the capitol told RenewableEnergyAccess.com that FY’07 would bring even broader cuts to renewable energy with the possible phase out of DOE’s wind, geothermal, and concentrating solar programs. Additionally, the total DOE budget for energy efficiency and renewables will be reduced by 20 percent (presumably as part of the effort to cut the deficit). Hydrogen and fuel cell technologies — which predominantly require fossil-fuel derived hydrogen — are the only alternative technologies slated to catch a break from DOE cuts. The budget will seek to continue to meet President Bush’s commitments to double the hydrogen budget and increase the fuel cell budget by 50 percent over five years. That would mean that the balance of the efficiency + renewable energy program budget would actually be cut by perhaps a third (and not just the 20 percent noted above). None of this has been officially acknowledged by anyone in authority and, even if all true, everything is subject to change over the next four months before the release in late January 2006 of the White House’s FY’07 budget request. Editor’s Note: If you or someone you know is in a position to verify or add to this developing story, please contact the Editor at editor@re-access.com.
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