Barack Obama’s 2013 Budget Supports Energy Security and Innovation in Industries Like Solar Power

On Thursday, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu detailed President Obama's $27.2 billion fiscal year 2013 budget request in testimony before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. The budget for fiscal year 2013 proposes $27.2 billion for the Department of Energy, a 3.2% increase over the previous year.

In his first hearing, Chu made clear that the budget proposal matches the energy priorities that the president laid out in last month’s State of the Union: Developing domestic oil and gas while investing in new job-creating clean energy technologies, and in our national security strategy. As Chu stated: “To promote economic growth and strengthen national security, President Obama has called for “all-of-the-above strategy that develops every source of American energy…. The president wants to fuel our economy with domestic energy resources while increasing our ability to compete in the clean energy race.”     

The FY13 budget makes smart investments in the Department of Energy’s program and also recognizes the critical importance of energy security promotion through the Department of Defense.

DOE’s budget request includes an 80% increase in funding for “energy efficiency activities to improve the energy productivity and competitiveness of our industries and businesses.” The budget request would also provide $310 million for an Energy Department program aimed at making solar energy cost-competitive; $95 million for developing wind energy technology; and $350 million for the Advanced Research Projects Agency – energy which funds innovative energy technologies.

The White House request would also increase the Advanced Manufacturing Office's budget to $290 million, a 150%, to execute its goal of getting new materials and technologies to assembly lines to improve efficiency while cutting costs and increasing quality.

In a bold move, the budget includes a mandate that utilities produce 80% of the country’s electricity from low-carbon sources such as solar, wind, and 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.”

In addition to these strategic investments through the Department of Energy, the White House request also makes an unprecedented investment in the Department of Defenses efforts to decrease energy consumption and boost energy security.

DoD consumes almost three-fourths of all Federal energy resources. To reduce consumption, the budget includes approximately $1 billion for energy conservation investments-up from $400 million in 2010. These investments include energy retrofits of existing buildings, meeting energy efficiency standards for new buildings, and developing renewable energy projects.

The request also includes $150 million for the Energy Conservation Investment Program, which improves the energy efficiency of DoD facilities worldwide. In addition, the Budget provides $32 million, a 7% increase compared to 2012, for the Installation Energy Test Bed Program to demonstrate new energy technologies to reduce risk, overcome barriers to deployment, and facilitate wide-scale commercialization."

The fiscal year 2013 budget is both thoughtful and bold and a testament to the administration’s commitment to strategic innovation and energy security.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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