United States Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham released the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Fiscal Year 2003 Budget request to Congress Monday, which earmarks over US$1.3 billion for renewable energy and energy efficiency.WASHINGTON, D.C. 2002-02-08 [SolarAccess.com] The total budget request of US$21.9 billion is the largest amount ever requested by the DOE and includes US$150 million for FreedomCAR, a program developed to refocus transportation research and development toward cost-effective, fuel cell powered vehicles and developing a hydrogen infrastructure. “We are making a significant investment in energy efficiency and renewables to develop diverse sources of energy that are at the same time abundant, affordable, and clean,” Abraham said adding that new initiatives in transportation and wind were also part of the funding request. Much of the proposed budget-nearly half-focuses on nuclear power and weaponry but Spencer said the Bush administration’S commitment to renewable energy is shown in the budget request. “We will improve the way we fund R&D and focus on cutting-edge technologies that may fuel the 21st Century and beyond,” Abraham said. “If the Congress accepts our proposal, this will be the largest amount of funding these programs have received in over 20 years.” If adopted, the DOE plan will: Extend and modify the tax credit for producing electricity from renewable sources; provide a tax credit for residential solar energy systems; provide a new tax credit for the purchase of certain hybrid and fuel cell vehicles and provide a tax credit for energy produced from landfill gas. The budget also includes US$277 million to help working families weatherize their homes and increases funding of the Energy Star program, which promotes efficient appliances and machines, according to Abraham.