WASHINGTON – Carol Werner, Executive Director of the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI), issued the following statement on the release of the president’s FY 08 budget for the U.S. Department of Energy:
In signing the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPACT, P.L. 109-58) on August 8, 2005, President Bush said EPACT “is strengthening America's electrical infrastructure, reducing the country's dependence on foreign sources of energy, increasing conservation, and expanding the use of clean renewable energy.” In his January 23 State of the Union address, President Bush said “It's in our vital interest to diversify America's energy supply -- the way forward is through technology. We must continue changing the way America generates electric power... America is on the verge of technological breakthroughs that will enable us to live our lives less dependent on oil. And these technologies will help us be better stewards of the environment, and they will help us to confront the serious challenge of global climate change.”
The funding priorities reflected in the President’s FY 08 budget appear in conflict with these goals of energy independence, renewable energy development, energy conservation, and environmental improvement. The President’s budget is not consistent—given the volume of voices and concerns about energy security, the huge bills residential and business consumers face, loss of economic competitiveness, environmental degradation, and rising greenhouse gas emissions—with his stated goals. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EE/RE) program should play a critical role in reducing energy import dependence while protecting the environment by developing and promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies. The President's FY 08 budget request for DOE’s EE/RE programs is $1.24 billion (five percent of the DOE budget)—essentially flat with FY 06 appropriations and flat with FY 05 appropriations. At the same time, nuclear energy received a 324.4 million increase (59% increase from FY 06 appropriations). Although there are significant increases for solar PV, biomass and hydrogen, the flat funding for DOE’s energy efficiency and renewable energy technology investments masks several cuts in effective energy efficiency programs and zeroes out investments in geothermal and hydropower technology.
The President’s FY 08 budget request includes:
· Zeroing out the Geothermal Program (cut from $22.8 million in FY 06)
· Zeroing out the Hydropower Program (cut from $0.5 million in FY 06)
· $98.5 million cut in Weatherization Assistance (41% cut from FY 06 appropriations)
· $9.9 million cut in Industrial Technologies (18% cut from FY 06 appropriations)
· $1.0 million cut in Tribal Energy Activities (25% cut from FY 06 appropriations)
· $22.6 million increase in Hybrid Electric Systems (39% increase from FY 06 appropriations)
· $9.9 million increase in State Energy Program Grants (28% increase from FY 06 appropriations)
· $3.1 million increase in Clean Cities (47% increase from FY 06 appropriations)
· $3.1 million increase in program direction (3% increase from FY 08 appropriations)
· $7.5 million for the Asia-Pacific Partnership, one of the President’s priorities for addressing climate change
In addition to these features of the EE/RE budget, the DOE Office of Electric Delivery and Energy Reliability Budget was cut $43.2 million (27% cut from FY 06 appropriations).