Bush Energy Initiative Includes $148MM for Solar

By Published On: February 3, 2006

In details released by the White House following President Bush’s State of the Union address on January 31, the president promised to budget $148 million for a Solar America Initiative in 2007 – an increase of $65 million over this year. He also pledged to budget $54 million for emissions-free coal technology, expand the wind development budget by $5 million, and increase funding for developing hydrogen fuel cells by $53 million. He also set a national goal of replacing more than 75 percent of oil imports from the Middle East by 2025. The energy initiatives mainly embody plans currently in place. According to the White House, the solar initiative is meant to accelerate the development of photovoltaics. Bush expects solar panels to be incorporated directly into building materials used in rural areas. What the president calls the “FutureGen” initiative is an existing partnership between government and the private sector to develop innovative technologies for an emissions-free coal plant. While the power plant would emit CO2, that pollutant would ideally be sequestered and stored long-term in deep geologic formations. The hydrogen money augments a plan begun in 2003 with $1.2 billion. That, too, is a public-private initiative. Although the president stated that nuclear power would be part of the 22 percent-plus increase in “clean energy” research, the White House provided no details on nuclear spending. The wind funding increase is aimed at “slow wind” efficiency improvements.

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