President Barack Obama has released his $3.8 trillion 2011 budget request, including $28.4 billion for the U.S. Department of Energy to jumpstart green technologies and build a requisite job force. Surprisingly, nuclear would get a big boost. Not so surprisingly, oil and gas companies would have to kiss some of their tax credits goodbye.
The most interesting this about the energy budget request is just how hard hit the fossil fuel industry would be. About $2.7 billion in subsidies for oil, coal and gas would be canceled under this plan. The idea is to discourage their production and use while simultaneously saving money for the government that can be diverted for other purposes. On top of that, the $71 million expansion of the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve would also be called off.
As for who would actually get some money — About $550 million would be funneled into the National Nuclear Security Administration‘s Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation program, intended to secure loose nuclear material around the world. Another $624 million would go to the administration’s weapons operations. Neither of these initiatives fit into the DOE’s green plans.
It’s comforting to know that more than that would be earmarked for clean energy development. In the current budget request, about $108 million has been set aside for grants to wind, solar and geothermal projects, and another $40 billion has been secured for loan guarantees to the same. Another $300 million would go to the DOE’s Advanced Research Project Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) initiative, which funds bold and experimental clean energy prospects. About $144 million would go to Smart Grid research and demonstrations.
When it comes to nuclear energy generation, $793 million would be earmarked for new research, and $36 billion in loan guarantees would go to two new nuclear facilities.
As several other media sources have noted, this year’s budget request for the DOE does not assume any revenue from a carbon cap and trade system — even though the 2010 budget did. Despite Obama’s pledge to pass legislation that would substantially lower carbon emissions, it looks like his faith in carbon trading as a possible solution has faded.