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Congress plan to cut clean energy spend could bite deep on wind

It was not so long ago that President Obama went to the World Trade Organization with a forthright complaint over the protectionist tactics of the Chinese renewables industry; a grievance which was subsequently vindicated. Great! we all thought. At last an administration is prepared to back our essential industry. But, hold on there – now it seems the House Appropriations Committee wants to cut clean energy funding by a staggering $900m, a sizable piece of the President’s proposed spending on clean energy in 2011. So just what is going on here? PES lifts the lid on this complex and potentially-threatening situation …

When compared to either the fiscal 2010 budget or fiscal 2011 budget, the steep cuts being requested by the US Congress highlight the debate over clean energy spending by the federal government at a time of increased focus on the federal deficit. The big hit to clean energy funding was included in the House Appropriations Committee full release recently, of its proposed budget cuts for fiscal 2011. There was also a clear focus on cutting money for renewable energy among the large list of programs being targeted by Congress.

President Obama’s fiscal 2011 budget line item for ‘energy efficiency and renewable energy’ is a request of $2.36bn – the 2010 budget number is $2.2bn. The $900m reduction in clean energy spending would represent 37.5 per cent of the 2011 request budget request. The Appropriations Committee did not actually specify where cuts were being proposed within the general clean energy and energy efficiency budget, but wind would almost certainly be expected to bear part of savings.


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