This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.
President Bush Requests $1.255 Billion for EERE in FY 2009
President Bush unveiled his proposed federal budget for fiscal year (FY) 2009 on February 4, including $25 billion for DOE. The budget requests $1.255 billion for the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), which is essentially equal to the President's budget request for FY 2008 but about 18% lower than the actual FY 2008 funding (not counting congressionally directed funds). Compared to the FY 2008 appropriations, the proposed budget boosts funding for geothermal energy by 51% to provide for field demonstrations of enhanced geothermal systems technologies. The budget also provides a 13.5% funding increase for research and development relating to biomass and biorefinery systems, a similar funding increase for efficient building technologies, and nearly level funding for the Federal Energy Management Program, vehicle technologies, industrial technologies, and wind energy. The budget proposal cuts hydrogen and fuel cell technologies by 69%, deferring hydrogen production research to focus instead on hydrogen storage and fuel cell technologies that are needed to develop a practical fuel cell vehicle by 2015.
The budget increases funding for state energy programs by 13% and proposes $7.5 million in new funding for the Asia Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate. It eliminates funding for Weatherization Assistance Grants, arguing that the energy efficiency retrofit program for low-income households has failed to catalyze broader solutions for the tens of millions of eligible homes that have never received retrofits. It also eliminates the Renewable Energy Production Incentive, which has become less effective as renewable energy technologies have become competitive and as limited funds have been distributed to a growing pool of eligible applicants. See the EERE Fiscal Year 2009 "Budget-in-Brief" (PDF 438 KB). Download Adobe Reader.
The proposed budget includes $3.2 billion for the President's Advanced Energy Initiative, a 28% increase, and $225 million for the President's Solar America Initiative, with $156 million in the EERE budget and $69 million in the budget for DOE's Office of Science. It also requests $19.9 million for the administrative expenses of DOE's new loan guarantee program, while requesting an extension of its authorization to issue loans through FY 2010 and FY 2011. The FY 2007 appropriations act authorized $38.5 billion in loan guarantees, including $10 billion for renewable energy, energy efficiency, and distributed energy generation, but gave DOE only two fiscal years to issue the loan guarantees. See the DOE press release and page 42a (PDF page 86) of the explanatory statement that was issued with the appropriations act (PDF 4.7 MB).