Obama Releases 2013 Budget: What's There For Clean Energy?

President Obama released his 2013 budget, saying:

“We must transform our economy from one focused on speculating, spending, and borrowing to one constructed on the solid foundation of educating, innovating, and building.

The Budget targets scarce federal resources to areas critical to growing the economy and restoring middle-class security: education and skills for American workers, innovation and manufacturing, clean energy, and infrastructure.

There are many innovative, practical provisions in the overall budget, but here are the ones that impact clean energy.

Although it has a slim-to-none chance of passing the GOP, a Clean Energy Standard is included saying, “it’s the centerpiece of the Administration’s strategy to ensure strong American leadership in the clean energy economy.”

The budget also asks that renewable energy tax credits be extended and for the revival of the lapsed program that provides tax credits for domestic manufacturing of renewable energy and energy efficiency equipment.

It eliminates many fossil fuel and agriculture subsides, and continues supporting renewable energy, efficiency and electric cars.

Dept of Energy (DOE)

DOE’s budget would rise 3.2% to $27.2 billion

  • $2.3 billion for Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, a 29% increase; 
  • $770 million for research on advanced
    small nuclear reactors; 
  • $12 million for research on improving the safety of natural gas fracking.
  • DOE’s Office of Science: $5 billion, a 2.4% increase.
  • SunShot Initiative: $310 million to make solar cost-competitive
  • Wind technology research: $95 million
  • DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (DARPA-E): $350 million
  • Advanced Manufacturing Partnership: $290 million for R&D on innovative manufacturing processes and advanced industrial materials to help companies to cut manufacturing costs by using less energy

DOE didn’t ask for new funds to expand its loan guarantee program – it will focus on deploying its remaining $170 million in credit subsidy and $34 billion in loan authority.

Instead, the budget moves the ability to make expanded investments in efficiency/ renewables in the Dept of Defense (DOD): $1 billion for energy efficiency investments, up from $400 million in 2010.

Including these provisions in DOD’s budget instead of DOE’s avoids harassment from the GOP related to Solyndra, while helping reduce consumption in DOD – the world’s largest energy consumer.

The Dept of Interior would receive $386 million for offshore oil and natural gas development, a $28 million increase. It would be used hire new inspectors, engineers and scientists to monitor 
oil drilling, improve oil spill research, and review company oil spill response plans.

Read about the EPA budget.

Among the provisions to “Jumpstart Job Creation” are energy efficiency measures:

  • $30 billion to modernize at least 35,000 schools
  • Project Rebuild, a series of policies to help people get work in distressed communities by re-purposing residential      and commercial properties

Among the provisions for “American Innovation & Manufacturing”:

  • Eliminate 12 tax breaks to oil, gas, and coal companies, raising $41 billion over 10 years.
  • $140.8 billion for R&D overall, an increase of 5% from 2012 levels, would double the budgets of three key basic research agencies: National Science Foundation, DOE Office of Science, and National Institute of Standards and      Technology Labs. Expands and makes permanent the R&D tax credit.
  • $2.2 billion for advanced manufacturing R&D, a 19% increase over 2012.
  • Provides tax incentives for manufacturers who create jobs in the US; doubles the deduction for advanced manufacturing; ends tax deductions for shipping jobs overseas; and establishes a Manufacturing Communities Tax Credit to encourage investment in communities affected by job loss.
  • Supports the goals of: putting 1 million electric vehicles on the road by 2015; doubling the share of electricity from clean energy sources by 2035; and reducing buildings’     energy use by 20% by 2020.

Among the provisions for “Build America: A 21st Century Infrastructure”:

  • National Infrastructure Bank to fund projects of national importance.
  • 6-year, $476 billion surface transportation reauthorization bill – expanded to included inter-city passenger rail

Fully paid for through current user-financed mechanisms and part of the savings from ending the war in Iraq and winding down operations in Afghanistan.

Read the full budget overview:

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