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

February 01, 2006

President Bush Proposes Energy Initiative to Reduce Oil Imports

President Bush outlined an Advanced Energy Initiative in his 2006 State of the Union Address, with the goal of replacing more than 75 percent of U.S. oil imports from the Middle East by 2025. The Initiative provides for a 22 percent increase in clean energy research at DOE. "America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world," said President Bush. "The best way to break this addiction is through technology." See the State of the Union Address on the White House Web site.

A White House fact sheet on the Initiative gives a preview of the President's proposed budget for 2007, which will include a new $148 million Solar America Initiative to accelerate the development of solar cells. The Solar America Initiative would more than double the funding for research in solar photovoltaic technologies. The budget will also include $44 million for wind energy research, a $5 million increase over this year's funding level.

The President also proposed accelerated research in producing ethanol from cellulosic biomass sources, such as agricultural wastes or switchgrass, with the goal of making such cellulosic ethanol practical and competitive within 6 years. The President's 2007 budget will include $150 million for the effort, an increase of $59 million over this year's funding. Cellulosic ethanol has the potential to displace up to 30 percent of the current fuel use in the United States.

The President's plan also aims to accelerate research in the next generation of battery technology for hybrid vehicles and "plug-in" hybrids, vehicles that can be recharged at night and can run significant distances on electric power only. The 2007 budget will include $30 million to speed the development of this technology. The budget also continues to fund the President's Hydrogen Fuel Initiative, providing $289 million in 2007, an increase of $53 million. See the White House fact sheet.