Budget 2012: Energy Department
President Obama's plan would boost the Energy Department's budget to $29.5 billion, up 12 percent from the enacted 2010 budget and up 4 percent from estimated spending in the current fiscal year.
The department's total outlays, however, will drop as funds from the 2009 economic stimulus package run out.
Still, energy is at the heart of Obama's quest for innovation, national security and greenhouse gas reductions. His proposal would provide new money for energy research -- including three new "hubs" for battery and electric grid research, $550 million for Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) and increases in budget authority for promoting renewable-power projects.
It would devote $3.2 billion to energy efficiency and renewable energy, a $1 billion, or 46 percent, increase over the fiscal year 2010 appropriation. That would include a "ShunShot" initiative to sharply lower the cost of solar cells.
In pursuit of putting more electric cars on the road, Obama proposes $588 million, an 88 percent increase, for helping communities that invest in electric-vehicle infrastructure. He would also alter the $7,500 tax credit for buyers of electric vehicles, making it a tax rebate available immediately at the point of sale.
The 2012 budget plan would provide an additional $36 billion in loan-guarantee authority for new nuclear power plants. The loan guarantees would save power companies billions in financing costs for the pricey projects. Last year's budget made the same request, which would have boosted the total of loan guarantees for nuclear plants to $54.5 billion. The higher amount would be enough for six to nine projects, the department said in a briefing. The budget also seeks $97 million to help with the engineering designs and permitting for small module reactors, which Energy Secretary Steven Chu said could help make the United States a global leader in nuclear power technology again.
The department, which oversees the nation's nuclear weapons stockpile, would also get $11.8 billion for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), a $1.9 billion increase over the amount enacted for the 2010 fiscal year. Within that amount, the Obama budget seeks $2.5 billion for non-proliferation, a program to secure nuclear material. That's a $439 million increase of the 2010 appropriation. But House Republicans' continuing resolution plan would trim that back, lowering it to $124 million below the 2010 appropriation.
House Republicans would also cut funds, including unused stimulus money, for energy efficiency and renewable energy, and for science accounts. They would provide no money at all for the ARPA-E project, something that had wide support in Congress. They would also keep, rather than abandon, the proposed Yucca Mountain, Nev., repository for radioactive waste from nuclear power plants.
Chu said that the Energy Department will sell 7 million barrels of crude oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve because of "technical difficulties" in one of the giant salt caverns used to store oil. The department will drain oil from that cavern and does not have enough storage to transfer it to another location. He would not say when those sales would take place, but they will lower the budget request for the reserve by 50 percent, or $122 million, from the 2010 appropriation.
| February 14, 2011; 5:14 PM ET
Categories: 44 The Obama Presidency, The Agencies, The Budget
Save & Share: Previous: Budget 2012: Labor Department
Next: Budget 2012: CIA/Intelligence agencies
Posted by: kfackenthall | February 18, 2011 4:17 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: drowningpuppies | February 14, 2011 7:09 PM | Report abuse