Clean energy companies ask DOE to fund programs steadily
By: Gabriel Nelson, E&E reporter
Published: Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Congress left it to the Department of Energy to fill in many of the blanks in its budget under the six-month continuing resolution that will fund the government until March, and one influential business group wants the agency to resist the urge to make big changes to its clean energy accounts.
In letters sent yesterday to Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Jeffrey Zients, the acting director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, the Business Council for Sustainable Energy says that DOE should keep the programs within the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) funded at the same levels as in fiscal 2012.
Many programs within the department could soon face cuts of 7.6 percent to 8.2 percent under the deficit-cutting deal that was struck in Congress last year. The lost funding for EERE would total $148 million (E&ENews PM, Sept. 14).
If the Obama administration ends up implementing that "sequester," it should reduce all budgets proportionately rather than cutting specific programs to make up the difference, the business group says.
"Moving funds around within these programs is very damaging for the businesses, nonprofits, universities and other organizations that contract with the department," BCSE President Lisa Jacobson wrote.
The group did not list any specific concerns about DOE's plans, but as the fiscal 2012 budget was being crafted, her group advocated for DOE to preserve funding for energy efficiency research; programs that aim to reduce the energy use of federal buildings; research into hydropower, solar energy and wind power; and programs to encourage the use of natural gas and hydrogen fuel cells.
The current chairman of the group is Mark Wagner, vice president of government relations at Johnson Controls Inc., and the vice chairwoman is Denise Bode, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association.
Click here to read the letter to Chu.