This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

February 06, 2002

President's Budget Supports Efficiency, Renewable Energy

President Bush released his administration's proposed $2.13 trillion federal budget for fiscal year (FY) 2003 on Monday. Although the budget emphasis is on the war on terrorism and U.S. homeland security, the budget maintains funding for energy efficiency and renewable energy programs, while providing new tax incentives to encourage the use of these technologies (see second story below). See the full budget on the White House Web site.

The proposed overall budget for DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), which funds this newsletter and the EREN Web site, remains nearly steady, increasing about 0.8 percent above FY 2002 funding levels. Funding for renewable energy programs increases 5.5 percent in the budget, with significant funding boosts for hydrogen, hydropower, and solar building technology research and development, as well as for programs that encourage renewable energy use on Indian reservations and internationally. However, the research budget for concentrating solar power technologies suffers a cut of 86 percent.

Overall funding for energy efficiency programs decreases by about 1.3 percent. The largest change is a budget increase of 25 percent for the Federal Energy Management Program, which helps the federal government reduce its energy use. EERE estimates that the combined energy efficiency and renewable energy programs, which cost about $1.3 billion per year, will save the country between $76 billion and $125 billion in energy costs by 2020.

See EERE's "Budget-in-Brief" on the EREN Web site.

See also the "Renewable Energy Resources" and "Energy Conservation" sections under the "Detailed Budget Justifications" heading of DOE's budget request.

In his announcement of the DOE budget, Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham specifically noted that the proposed budget will support the President's commitment to double funding for the Weatherization Assistance Program over the next 10 years, and will provide roughly $150 million for FreedomCAR, which aims to develop the infrastructure and technologies needed for hydrogen-powered fuel-cell vehicles. See the DOE press release.

The administration's proposed budget is only the first step in the budget process. Both the House and Senate will now start working on a series of bills to set a budget and appropriate funds. For FY 2002, for instance, the President's budget originally proposed cutting funding for EERE, but as shown in the budget documents cited above, funding for FY 2002 ended up higher than the previous year's funding. See the news about last year's proposed budget in the April 11, 2001, edition of the EREN Network News.