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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

32 BUSINESS AND ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS URGE CONGRESS TO RESTORE ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND RENEWABLE ENERGY FUNDING PROPOSED FOR CUTS BY WHITE HOUSE

WASHINGTON DC, April 21, 2005 --/WORLD-WIRE/--
In a letter delivered today, thirty-two member groups of the Sustainable Energy Coalition urged Congress to restore funding the White House is proposing to cut in the U.S. Department of Energy's Fiscal Year 2006 energy efficiency and renewable energy (EE/RE) programs. The letter was sent to the Members of the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives serving on the respective Energy & Water Subcommittees of the congressional Appropriations Committees.

Funding levels for most of the DOE's core renewable energy programs have been targeted for reductions including the biomass/biofuels, geothermal, hydropower, and solar energy programs. Collectively, these accounts would be reduced by nearly $24 million, not including another $4 million targeted to be cut from the Distributed Energy account.

Similarly, a number of the core energy efficiency accounts are also targeted for reductions. These include the Industrial Energy Efficiency program which would be cut by $18.3 million or 24%, the Energy Efficient Buildings program whose funding would be reduced by $7.5 million or 11% and the State Energy Program which would be cut by $3.2 million or 7%.

The letter argues that "at a time when the price of gasoline is exceeding $2 per gallon, a barrel of oil is over $50, and natural gas is more than $6/mmBtu, cut-backs in DOE's core EE/RE programs are truly penny-wise and pound-foolish."

"Further cuts will only increase U.S. vulnerability to energy supply disruptions, worsen fuel price volatility, and cause higher energy prices overall unnecessarily putting American citizens at economic risk over the short- and long-term, while also ceding lucrative energy efficiency and renewable energy product markets to other countries, such as Japan and Germany. These cuts will also undercut efforts to reduce US climate emissions, accelerate global warming, and thus make future efforts to stabilize global climate even more difficult if not impossible."

On the other hand, "when viewed as strategies for lowering energy costs as well as for reducing the greenhouse gas emissions tied to climate change and for enhancing national and homeland security, investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy are particularly low-cost and effective."

Consequently, the Sustainable Energy Coalition is urging the Members of Congress to at least double federal support for these programs over a five-year period. For Fiscal Year 2006, "at a bare minimum, [Congress should] restore funding to last year's enacted levels for those EE/RE programs being recommended for cuts, while accepting the President's recommended [increased] funding levels for wind, fuel cells, and renewably-based hydrogen."

The full text of the letter and list of signers follows.

# # # # # #

The Sustainable Energy Coalition is a coalition of 85 national and state business, consumer, environmental, and energy policy organizations which collectively represent several thousand companies and community-based groups. Founded in 1992, the Sustainable Energy Coalition works to promote increased use of renewable energy and energy efficient technologies.

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SUSTAINABLE ENERGY COALITION
1612 "K" Street, N.W.; #202-A;
Washington, D.C. 20006 202-293-2898, x.201

PLEASE SUPPORT RESTORATION OF FUNDING FOR ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND RENEWABLE ENERGY PROGRAMS IN DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY'S FY'06 BUDGET

April 21, 2005

Members
Energy and Water Development Subcommittee
Committee on Appropriations
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515


Attn: Staff Member Working on Appropriations, Energy Policy

Dear Representative:

We, the undersigned members of the Sustainable Energy Coalition, are writing to urge that you support restoration of funding for critical R,D&D programs in the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Fiscal Year 2006 (FY'06) Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EE/RE) budget which the White House has proposed cutting.

We recognize the budgetary pressures facing the U.S. Congress as it grapples with competing needs and a large deficit. However, at a time when the price of gasoline is exceeding $2 per gallon, a barrel of oil is over $50, and natural gas is more than $6/mmBtu, cut-backs in DOE's core EE/RE programs are truly penny-wise and pound-foolish.

When viewed as strategies for lowering energy costs as well as for reducing the greenhouse gas emissions tied to climate change and for enhancing national and homeland security, investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy are particularly low-cost and effective. For example, studies suggest that every dollar invested in DOE-administered energy-efficiency R&D returns $20 to the nation's economy.

Similarly, the mix of sustainable energy technologies offers one of the most cost-effective options for reducing the export of U.S. dollars to pay for burgeoning oil and natural gas imports - which totaled $166 billion and $18 billion respectively in 2004.

In addition, unlike the costs for nuclear and fossil fuels which can be expected to continue to rise, renewable technologies have the unique potential to tap large domestic resource bases at lower and lower costs, both to the economy and the environment.

Overall, energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies are making significant gains in the U.S. energy market place, creating domestic industries and good-paying jobs. Thus, the economic benefits of DOE's EE/RE programs are growing ever larger in this time of rising fuel prices.

However, robust R&D funding for these programs remains important to help further reduce technical, institutional, and economic barriers to enable even faster market penetration. It should not be curtailed just when these technologies begin to approach making real inroads into the marketplace.

Unfortunately, funding levels for most of the DOE's core renewable energy programs have been targeted for reductions including the biomass/biofuels, geothermal, hydropower, and solar energy programs. In fact, the President's budget proposes to phase out entirely the advanced hydropower turbine program.

Collectively, funding would be reduced by nearly $24 million, not including another $4 million targeted to be cut from the Distributed Energy account. In the case of geothermal and other programs, the cuts would come on top of cuts already made in recent years. Of all of the DOE's core renewable energy programs, only wind energy has been proposed for a modest increase.

Similarly, a number of the core energy efficiency accounts are also targeted for reductions. These include the Industrial Energy Efficiency program which would be cut by $18.3 million or 24%, the Energy Efficient Buildings program whose funding would be reduced by $7.5 million or 11% and the State Energy Program which would be cut by $3.2 million or 7%.

In fact, other than the wind energy program, the only segments of DOE's EE/RE portfolio targeted for increases would be the fuel cell and hydrogen programs.

The Sustainable Energy Coalition supports both fuel cell and renewably-produced hydrogen technologies. However, these are technologies that offer the potential of significant contributions to the nation's energy mix primarily over the longer term. They are not substitutes for the mix of energy-efficiency and renewable energy technologies that are poised to address the nation's most pressing energy needs today ... and tomorrow.

In fact, the success of a hydrogen economy depends upon the advances and increasing use of renewable energy to insure sustainably-derived and environmentally-sound production of hydrogen as an energy carrier. Yet, while technologies such as solar photovoltaics, wind, and biofuels are among the fastest-growing energy sources worldwide, the U.S. continues needlessly to lose ground in the global market because it has failed to sustain its investment in them.

Further cuts will only increase U.S. vulnerability to energy supply disruptions, worsen fuel price volatility, and cause higher energy prices overall unnecessarily putting American citizens at economic risk over the short- and long-term, while also ceding lucrative energy efficiency and renewable energy product markets to other countries, such as Japan and Germany. These cuts will also undercut efforts to reduce US climate emissions, accelerate global warming, and thus make future efforts to stabilize global climate even more difficult if not impossible.

Accordingly, the Sustainable Energy Coalition is on record as recommending that federal support for EE/RE programs should actually be doubled over a five-year period. Support for these programs should not be curtailed in favor of increased funding for mature, polluting energy technologies or for questionable long-range research efforts.

Therefore, the Sustainable Energy Coalition urges the Members of Congress, at a bare minimum, to restore funding to last year's enacted levels for those EE/RE programs being recommended for cuts, while accepting the President's recommended funding levels for wind, fuel cells, and renewably-based hydrogen.

We would be happy to meet with you to discuss this further, including options for identifying offsetting funding sources that can be used to sustain DOE's core energy efficiency and renewable energy programs in FY'06.

Sincerely,
  • Alliance for Affordable Energy
  • Alliance to Save Energy
  • American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy
  • American Public Power Association
  • American Solar Energy Society
  • American Wind Energy Association
  • Biomass Energy Resource Center
  • Bob Lawrence & Associates, Inc.
  • Breakthrough Technologies Institute
  • Cascade Associates
  • Colorado Energy Group
  • Energy Innovations
  • Environmental and Energy Study Institute
  • Geothermal Energy Association
  • Geothermal Resources Council
  • Global Green USA
  • Greenpeace USA
  • International District Energy Association
  • Minnesotans for an Energy-Efficient Economy
  • National Environmental Trust
  • National Hydropower Association
  • Natural Resources Defense Council
  • New Community Project
  • New Uses Council
  • Sacramento Municipal Utility District
  • Solar Energy Industries Association
  • The Stella Group, Ltd.
  • The Vote Solar Initiative
  • Union of Concerned Scientists
  • Vermont Energy Investment Corporation
  • Waverly Light and Power
  • WestStart/CALSTART
The Sustainable Energy Coalition is a coalition of 85 national and state business, consumer, environmental, and energy policy organizations which collectively represent several thousand companies and community-based groups. Founded in 1992, the Sustainable Energy Coalition works to promote increased use of renewable energy and energy efficient technologies.

Contact:
Ken Bossong
202-392-2898, x.201

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