Bush SOTU: Advanced Energy Initiative
Well, something interesting tonight; as was rumored, Bush has announced something that at least sounds like a good start in the right direction: the Advanced Energy Initiative
. This includes a "22-percent increase in clean-energy research at the Department of Energy, to push for breakthroughs in two vital areas." - those two areas being clean coal, solar, wind, and nuclear on the one hand, and bio-fuels on the other.
Of course the proof of these good intentions will be in the actual budget bill that comes forward over the next weeks and months - how will the 22% be split, and what does the 22% actually amount to in real dollars? Does the 22% apply to the $6 billion "Science and Energy Resources" budget? Or just to the $2 billion or so in energy efficiency and renewables, a much less significant bump? We'll have to wait and see for the actual budget...
Several positives in the way this was presented tonight:
- No mention of hydrogen; hydrogen was a part of the 2003 SOTU speech, and obviously still occupies much of the DOE's research budget at the moment, so this is significant.
- Specific mention of non-corn sources for ethanol: wood chips, stalks, or switch grass
- Specific mention of "revolutionary solar and wind technologies" - along with "clean coal" and "clean, safe" nuclear energy.
- Acknowledgement of the need to get off our "oil addiction" - a goal of reducing Middle East oil imports 75% by 2025.
Whether or not these actually turn into significant programs, their presence in tonight's speech marks a major step forward in truthful acknowledgment of the reality of our energy situation. So, at least some kudos to the president for listening to reality on something important!
[UPDATE] Details of the proposals are available on a White House Advanced Energy Initiative page. The 2007 budget will include:
- $281 million for "clean coal", including $54 million for "FutureGen"
- $148 million Solar America Initiative an increase of $65 million over FY06, for solar PV research and development
- $44 million for wind energy research a $5 million increase over FY06 levels.
- $150 million a $59 million increase over FY06 for cellulosic ethanol development: "to help develop bio-based transportation fuels from agricultural waste products, such as wood chips, stalks, or switch grass"
- $30 million a $6.7 million increase over FY06 for battery research, focused on enabling plug-in hybrids
- $289 million an increase of $53 million over FY06 to accelerate the development of hydrogen fuel cells and affordable hydrogen-powered cars.
So it does include hydrogen money as well. The total increase in the listed programs is under $200 million, but there were certainly some things not listed there yet (no mention of dollar amounts for the nuclear initiatives for instance). It's in the right direction at least - especially the 78% increase in solar photovoltaics research! But this is all a far cry from the full scope of what's needed.
Created: 2006-02-01 05:38:02 by Arthur Smith
Modified: 2006-02-01 14:38:55 by Arthur Smith