This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.
DOE Requests $1.2 Billion for Office of Efficiency and Renewable Energy
DOE announced on February 5th that President Bush's Fiscal Year (FY) 2008 Budget requests $24.3 billion for DOE, including $1.236 billion for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). In addition, the request for DOE's Office of Science includes $75 million to establish three Bioenergy Research Centers that will accelerate basic research in cellulosic ethanol and other biofuels. These combined funds will directly support the President's goal of reducing gasoline use by 20 percent over the next 10 years while advancing the goals of the President's Advanced Energy Initiative, which aims to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign sources of energy. The President's budget is meant to serve as a starting point for Congressional budget negotiations.
The EERE budget request is $73 million more than the FY 2006 appropriations, a 6.3 percent increase (FY 2007 appropriations are currently subject to a continuing resolution in Congress, so FY 2006 is the best standard for comparison). Much of this funding expands key programs that focus on developing new energy choices, including biomass energy and biorefinery systems ($179 million, a doubling of funds), hydrogen fuel and fuel cell technology ($213 million, a 39 percent increase), solar power ($148 million, an 81 percent increase), wind energy ($40 million, a 4.5 percent increase), and vehicle efficiency technologies (nearly level funding at $176 million). The request eliminates funding for geothermal and hydropower technologies.
Funding for DOE's Biomass Program advances the President's Biofuels Initiative, which aims to develop cost-competitive, biobased liquid transportation fuels, while the Solar Program funding supports the President's Solar America Initiative, which aims to develop cost-competitive solar cell technologies by 2015. Roughly half the funding for vehicle efficiency technologies will go toward research into hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles. Plug-in hybrids can be plugged into an electrical socket to recharge their batteries and can cover moderate commuting distances using battery power only. See the DOE budget summary from the White House, the DOE press release, and the full EERE budget request.