Obama’s 2012 budget focuses on clean energy


15 Feb 2011

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US President Barack Obama yesterday announced that he is requesting additional federal funding towards clean energy research as part of his 2012 budget.

The plan that Obama proposed yesterday is pending approval by Congress, and aims to eradicate longstanding subsidies for fossil fuels.

Obama’s budget for the 2012 fiscal year includes putting aside $29.5bn for the Department of Energy, a 4.2pc increase from this year’s proposed budget and a 12pc increase from last year’s budget.

In a speech on Monday morning at Parkville Middle School and Center for Technology in Baltimore, Obama announced that, “I’ve called for a freeze on annual domestic spending over the next five years.  This freeze would cut the deficit by more than $400bn over the next decade, bringing this kind of spending, domestic discretionary spending, to its lowest share of our economy since Dwight Eisenhower was President."

Obama’s objective is to increase funding for the Department of Energy by 12pc. The proposal entails an offering of $853m for the development of new nuclear energy, including small nuclear reactors which cost less than traditional nuclear facilities. An estimated $8bn of the funding would assist the department’s scientific research in clean energy, including advanced batteries as well as solar, wind, and other renewable energies. The budget also aims to save $4bn a year by cutting tax incentives for oil companies and reducing government support for drilling.

He also said that, “These investments are an essential part of the budget my administration is sending to Congress”.

Obama added, “Because I’m convinced that if we out-build and out-innovate and out-educate, as well as out-hustle the rest of the world, the jobs and industries of our time will take root here in the United States.”

The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) yesterday released a statement commending Obama’s proposal.  Rhone Resch, president and CEO of SEIA revealed, “This budget is a smart investment for the American taxpayer. If this budget is enacted, I expect the solar industry to more than double in 2012, creating tens of thousands of good-paying solar energy jobs. And as the industry grows, our costs continue to decline helping to make solar the best economic choice for taxpayers across the country."

He added, “The budget also extends the highly successful 1603 Treasury Program for one year. This program has been critical for solar power development, both large and small, while the financial markets have been slow to recover. After securing a hard-fought extension through 2011 during the lame duck session, we are pleased to see that the program remains a top priority for the President.”

Resch strongly supports this new budget urging, “Congress to swiftly pass this budget and keep solar working for America.”

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